Stoner and Lorenzo say no to Japan GP
MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo and current leader Casey Stoner, who both ride for Japanese manufacturers, have ruled out taking part in this year's Japanese Grand Prix due to radiation fears.
The Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi circuit is around 130km from the Fukushima nuclear plant, whose cooling systems were crippled by an earthquake and Tsunami in March that led to meltdowns in three reactors and radiation leakages.
The Japanese race was originally scheduled for April 24 but has been rescheduled for October 2. The governing International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has said there is no reason to cancel.
"I will not go," Honda rider Stoner told a news conference at the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring on Saturday evening.
"That's my opinion, I have had it now for some time -- not as long as Jorge -- I took more time to make my decision but I will not go there," said Stoner.
"I am sure most riders are with the same opinion. That's my decision and I guess it's up to the organisers to figure out what's going to happen."
Stoner, world champion in 2007, said he would act in the same way if the same situation had happened in Australia.
Yamaha's Lorenzo had already made clear months ago that he would not race at Motegi.
"I took this decision not to go to Japan a long time ago. So I am not active in the ongoing discussions about going to Japan because I have already made my decision," said the Spaniard.
"I think if we can help Japan in another way we will, but I think going there is not real support."
Honda's Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa said the situation was unclear but agreed that most riders did not want to go.
"We are considering what possibilities we can do," he said.
The International Motorcycling Federation said this month it was monitoring the situation but the race remained on schedule.
"The FIM is awaiting for the results of a report conducted by an independent European agency on the conditions prevailing in Motegi that will be released later this month," added FIM president Vito Ippolito in a statement.
"Together with our partners and stakeholders we will continue to monitor the situation very closely to make sure that the safety and health of everyone involved is guaranteed at all times, which is an absolute priority for the FIM."
Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of MotoGP rights holders Dorna, told BBC television that the initial results of the report were expected by July 24 and the definitive version by the end of the month.
"We agree with the FIM and the Motegi people and depending on this result we will go or not," he said.
Ezpeleta said any refusal by riders to go would be a problem for the teams to deal with.
"It is not my problem. We have an agreement with Motegi to make the race, then we have an agreement with IRTA (the road race teams association) to bring the teams and riders," added the Spaniard.
"Then the teams have an agreement with the riders. It is up to the teams to decide whether they will fulfill or not this agreement. But we are not considering that.
"The race will happen if the investigation is OK, and with the riders it depends on the teams."
Ezpeleta said also he did not believe all the riders had the same opinion and suspected some had been exerting pressure on others.