FIM Announce Motegi MotoGP Round To Go Ahead "In Principle"

In the wake of the massive earthquake of Japan's east coast, which triggered a devastating tsunami, leaving the Fukushima nuclear power plant badly damaged and leaking radiation, there were serious concerns raised about the safety of organizing the Japanese round of MotoGP at Motegi. The initial response was to postpone the race from its original April 24th spot to October 2nd, giving Honda (the circuit owners) to repair the track and get it ready for the race.

The riders, and many members of the paddock including much of the media, are worried about racing at Motegi, however, fearing the consequences of racing just 120 km away from a badly-damaged nuclear power plant. They have not been reassured by reports from scientists (including the IAEA, the international body charged with monitoring all forms of nuclear energy around the world), and have been campaigning to get the race either canceled, or moved to Suzuka.

Their attempts have not paid off, however. Yesterday, the FIM issued a press release announcing that the Motegi race will be taking place as planned. Citing independent international research, the regions around Motegi have been declared safe, and as a consequence, there are no grounds to cancel. 

The decision is not completely final. FIM President Vito Ippolito is due to make an announcement next week, at the Mugello round of MotoGP.

Below is the official FIM press release:

2011 FIM World Championships events scheduled in Japan

The FIM Board of Directors will assess the situation prevailing in Japan during its meeting in Geneva next week-end. Furthermore, talks will be held next week at the FIM Headquarters with representatives from the Motorcycle Federation of Japan.

In principle, Suzuka and Motegi circuits being situated outside the exclusion and evacuation zones, and based on the information provided by an independent report, a number of agencies including several governments, the World Health Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the 2011 FIM World Championships events in Japan (QTEL FIM Endurance World Championship, SPEA FIM Trial World Championship and FIM World Championship Grand Prix) will be taking place as scheduled.

A final announcement will be made by the FIM President during the MotoGP in Mugello.

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One thing that always struck in my mind was how vocal Lorenzo was about not wanting to go to Japan (and he certainly wasn't the only one), saying that he didn't trust the scientists insisting that the danger was no greater than flying to London (or whatever the example was). Meanwhile when the early E-Coli crisis in Germany was going on at Silverstone, he was quite quick to defend Spanish [Cucumber] Honor and insist that spanish gurkens were safe to eat. Struck me as pretty hypocritical, especially when directly on his bike it says "With you Japan".

Lady Gaga Confirmed to Have Balls: She's in Japan.

It's times like this when you can tell that guys like Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden never really went to school much.

Not having a formal education doesn't mean you don't have the ability to make rational decisions based on the evidence presented. I think it's safe to say that the situation in Fukushima is now well understood, compared to the source of the E. coli outbreak at the time of the Catalunya GP when Jorge was (rightfully) defending Spanish cucumbers.

Let's hope the riders start using their heads and their hearts and realize it is safe to support Japan and race at Motegi.

No offense, but there's a bit of a difference between e-coli in cucumbers (or any vegetable for that matter) and radiation.

I would not trust myself many scientists or governments as far as this goes. There's just not much certainty to say what's the real effect. You must accept that ....

BTW, he was right with the cucumbers, just an example where scientists were initially wrong ... :-)

Our company just received a very nice thankyou letter from the Japanese Red Cross for our fundraising efforts and in detail explained what they were doing and how the three and a half thousand pounds raised would support families who have had their lives destroyed.

A drop in the ocean compared to the cost of staging a MotoGP race, and one wonders if there will even be a benefit to the local economy from staging the race. Perhaps these costs should be donated instead?

I appreciate the morale boost that might be gained by a sense of achievement and normality returning to the country, but putting nuclear fears to one side - is staging this race really the right thing to do?