The earthquake and ensuing disaster that devastated Japan's northeast coast has weighed heavy on the hearts of everyone in the MotoGP paddock. With so many factories and suppliers based in Japan, everybody in the paddock knows at least one person who was affected in one way or another. The minute's silence before the start of the MotoGP season opener at Qatar was just one expression of their sympathy, and it was a moment which touched the Japanese members of the paddock very deeply.
To add more practical support to those expressions of sympathy, Dorna, who run the MotoGP series, have arranged to sell t-shirts signed by all of the MotoGP riders to raise funds for the victims of the disaster and help the rebuilding effort in the country. The funds raised are to be presented to an as-yet-unnamed humanitarian organization at the Japanese Grand Prix, due to be held on October 2nd. So if you've always wanted a t-shirts signed by the riders, here's your chance. They cost 20 euros, and are available from a special website, http://weforjapan.motogp.com/.
Below is the official press release announcing the initiative:
MotoGP unites to help Japan
The MotoGP community has moved to do all it can to support those in Japan following the recent earthquake and its aftereffects, and the 17 riders in MotoGP have put their signatures on a specially printed shirt with the message "We are for Japan".
The t-shirt will be available at a range of circuits on the World Championship calendar, as well as being available from the MotoGP official website at http://weforjapan.motogp.com. It can be purshased for €20.
The funds collected through this initiative will be presented to a humanitarian organisation during the Japan Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place on October 2nd.
Jorge Lorenzo: "We must give our maximum support to Japan at a moment such as this. Japan is already a strong country that has always demonstrated its ability to overcome adversity. A strong embrace to all Japanese people and fans of motorcycling who live there."
Casey Stoner: "We considered the floods in Australia at the beginning of the year a huge disaster, but after the events we've seen in Japan - it's beyond what we can comprehend. Having heard some of the stories from colleagues in Honda and seeing the coverage on the news, it's devastating to hear what they are going through and our hearts and thoughts are with everyone in Japan. I hope they can find the courage to keep fighting and get through this period to help rebuild their lives".
Valentino Rossi: "This is a very tough moment for everybody but we support Japan and we are with our Japanese friends. We encourage them not to give up, and I wish good luck to everybody from me, and from all my team."
Unite with the MotoGP community and buy this t-shirt to help the people of Japan. Please forward this information to friends, relatives and colleagues across the globe using every outlet of social media to bring the MotoGP paddock and fans together with the message "We are for Japan".