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Rossi Says He May Skip Motegi

Valentino Rossi (Ducati) has been quoted by the Italian press as stating he may not go to the Motegi round of the MotoGP championship series scheduled for October 2.  Rossi stated:  “I really don’t think I’ll go to Japan. … I was hoping that the championship organizers would make the right decision, but that hasn’t been the case and now we’ve got a serious problem.”

It doesn’t look like any of the riders will be making their final decision anytime soon. Although Rossi is not in contention for the championship this year, the two contenders, including Casey Stoner (Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who each had previously announced they would not attend the race, now seem to be wavering.

The FIM commissioned a study that concluded attendance at the race would be safe, but the riders haven’t necessarily been convinced, and many outside observers think that the nuclear fallout situation at Motegi is not clear. The affected nuclear reactors are roughly 66 miles from the track, and radiation levels are still extremely high there (some of the highest readings since the accident had been taken in recent weeks).


  1. evzone says:

    The fact that FIM is even holding the race is irresponsible. With radiation levels that high, there is no reason to risk the riders, fans, and all support personell. For Stoner and Lorenzo to even be hesitant to go says a lot. They should be given podium points just for having the stones to stand up for what is right.

  2. RC says:

    Casey Stoner’s wife is expecting a child and she always attends the races to support her husband, I would not risk my wife, childand fans for the race. Skip this race and reschedule for 2012!!

  3. Booyaaa says:

    Geez, is one round that important, skip it all together, send Japan the millions everyone would have spent going there, and move on to the next race. Hell, fit it in that the riders get more practice time elsewhere since they won’t be racing in Japan, do a 1000cc exhibition race, or a drunken tricycle race around an obstacle course. I have to think of everything around here…

  4. Vrooom says:

    Who is supposed to hold down 6th place? RDP?

  5. Norm G. says:

    an excerpt from the on-going wikipedia entry on fukushima…

    “In the hours and days that followed, reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced full meltdown.[14][15]. It has been estimated that the upper 75 % of the core of unit one melted and slumped into the lower quarter of the core at 15:10 on the 12th of March, the core mass would have cooled again as it entered the water in the bottom part of the reactor tank before reheating during the time before sea water was added at 20:20.[16]Hydrogen explosions destroyed the upper cladding of the buildings housing Reactors 1, 3, and 4; an explosion damaged the containment of reactor 2;[17] multiple fires broke out at Reactor 4. With the remnants of its reactor core fallen to the bottom of its damaged reactor vessel, Unit 1 continues to leak cooling water approaching three months after the initial events; similar conditions are hypothesized to exist at the other two melted-down reactors in the complex.[18]”

  6. fpan says:

    I cannot believe this guys can be so fearful. I would go in a heartbeat if I had the chance. And I would be there in front of the camera saying: “Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo are all chickens! brrk, brroock, broock, brk-ooock!!!”

  7. jfc1 says:

    you’d be an idiot to go to Japan for a single race if you don’t have to. So the *airborne* radiation is negligible, 50 miles from the plant, or so. That’s great, if that’s the only radiation vector that you really care about. You have to eat and drink something while you’re there. Do you plan to ship in your own food and water?

  8. Pac!enT says:

    For God sake, Rossi doesnt say anything about radiation. That bloody report is just about all research of radiation in air, water and food. Well, nice to know, that regarding to radiation its quite save, BUT: Rossi talking about risk of nuclear plant, which is not under control and very active atm. with lot of ground shaking, which could turn situation upside down in one minute, when Fukushima could be easily more damaged and become absolutely out of control.
    He is speaking for team members and lot of people from MotoGP paddock, not just for himself….
    You can listen him as he was talking about Motegi here !!

  9. Al says:

    If Stoner and Jorge or whoever don’t want to go, that’s fine. But I just don’t see how some of them can still keep that ‘Gambaro Japan’ decal on their bikes and not look like a hypocrite.

    • Dave says:

      Many people support Japan’s struggle. Very few go there. How is looking out for your safety hypocritical? The race should be moved or canceled. Proceeds can be donated to disaster relief or something like that to make it beneficial for the original host community.

  10. ROXX says:

    I assume these guys wave of X-Rays after a crash?

    • Kit Halsted says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but getting x-rayed more often than average (and flying as often as they do) makes additional radiation more of a concern for the MotoGP riders, not less.

  11. Cory says:

    Motegi is not the only world class track with proper facilities for MotoGP. What about Suzuka? They could move the race and still keep it in Japan.

    • Chris says:

      Suzuka has been deemed no longer safe for MotoGP bikes… That is why it was taken off the calendar 8 or 9 years ago…

      Not sure what it would take to get it upto spec, but there is obviously not enough time to do that for the race to take place there this year.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Not sure what it would take to get it upto spec, but there is obviously not enough time to do that for the race to take place there this year.”

        even if it were up to spec, there’s still not enough time to properly promote or sell tickets. i wouldn’t assume just because someone is a ticket holder for motegi…? they are willing and able to just up and re-route to suzuka. that’s like going from norcal to socal or from east texas to west texas. not exactly right around the corner.

      • Cory says:

        Understandable, but what about Sugo, Autopolis, or another track? This could have been handled a while back, assuming that the tracks were up to safety standards.

  12. Booyaaa says:

    according to the speed channel before last week’s race, Stoner was quoted saying his initial concerns were that his woman was pregnant. Given Stoner is already super human in the field of motorcycle racing, could you imagine his offspring exposed to radiation? This sounds like a comic book story….of course I understand where his is ultimately coming from.

  13. BrianD says:

    Let’s say a bunch of these riders decide not to go to Japan this year. Fine.

    What happens next year and the year after that?

    Radiation just doesn’t suddenly disappear. It decays over time. Some types of radiation decay more quickly than others, but if it’s a concern this year for the riders what makes it not a concern next year? If the riders didn’t accept a scientific study of the issue this year, why would they be convinced next year?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “What happens next year and the year after that?”

      as i stated previously. we should start coming to grips with the possibility that we might not ever see a race at motegi again in our lifetime…? the full impact of this disaster has yet to play out. probably take a decade at a minumum. wildlife may have returned, but observe that nobody’s setting up for a picnic any time soon at chernobyl. such are the insidious effects of radiation. we think we know (which begets a false sense of security)…? but truth is we have no idea. nature just reminded us of this fact on 3/11/11.

  14. Benbike55 says:

    Well if it is in a Italian magazine it must be true……

  15. William says:

    I guess its a simple question. If you were given a free ticket, flight and place to stay would you go to watch the Japanese MotoGP this year?
    I feel for the Japanese, but I don’t think I would go.66 miles away is not very far.

    Santa Cruz, Ca

    • bikerrandy says:

      I heard the track is 90 miles away. If I was concerned I’d take a geiger counter and see for myself. If the readings were too high for my concerns, I’d turn around and leave.

      • Nome says:

        I would go, no doubt. If I was concerned about contamination I would eat imported food, drink bottle water and wear a breath guard of some sort. In reality the intercontinental flight is more of a “radiation risk” and backround radiation in Motegi is lower than here.

        • Fred M. says:

          Noma wrote: “If I was concerned about contamination I would…wear a breath guard of some sort.”

          Be specific: What sort of “breath guard” is going to keep alpha or beta particle emitting gaseous radionuclides out of your lungs?

          You seem to be putting an inordinate amount of faith in the reported levels when it’s been shown that the officials monitoring the radiation repeatedly, and drastically, underrepresented the levels of the readings.

      • Kit Halsted says:

        The Fukushima nuclear plant is actually 25ish miles SSE of Fukushima itself, so 66 miles from the track is probably more accurate than 90. Given the track record of everyone concerned, the chance that they’re… well, really, flat-out lying, seems pretty high.

      • Stinky says:

        I’d skip if given the chance. Geiger counter or not. With all the lies, half truths, noone knows if it’s really safe. Granted, they (we) can all die tomorrow, but to go to an island not 6 months after the biggest peaceful nuclear accident in history isn’t such a good idea. Rossi rides for an italian company, Stoner, Lorenzo ride for Japanese companies. They’re gonna have to ride or lose their rides.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “They’re gonna have to ride or lose their rides.”

          never happen. the manufacturers wouldn’t dare play that card with the eyes of the world still focused intently upon them and this disaster. the japanese homeland is under a microscope.

      • Fred M. says:

        bikerrandy wrote: “I heard the track is 90 miles away. If I was concerned I’d take a geiger counter and see for myself. If the readings were too high for my concerns, I’d turn around and leave.”

        I am generally not one to interfere with Darwinian evolution, but I have to ask: What happens if you’re satisfied with the readings and then the wind shifts?

        Obviously this is all hypothetical, since someone who doesn’t understand the wind’s role in the spread of the radioactivity is unlikely to be able to interpret the readings from a geiger counter or assess their safety based on those readings..

    • Gutterslob says:

      I’d go, for sure. Actually, I AM going to Tokyo on Sept 28th, mainly for work stuff. If the GP takes place, I’ll definitely make my way there, just to spend some money the the towns and an inn if available. Either way, I have friends who live close to Motegi who’re going about their lives as normally as they possibly can (one of them is very well-off and speaks fluent English, btw, and he could’ve easily moved to some affluent neighborhood in any EU or American city if he wanted to, yet he chose to stay) and it’d be an insult to them and my conscience if I didn’t visit.

      I’ve been to JP 3 times since the “meltdown”, and I’m pretty fine (they did screen me at the airport twice when I came back home to Singapore, but was given an all-clear). Like I’ve said before, most of our basements are probably more radioactive than Motegi.

      I agree that the Jap govt hasn’t been entirely honest about the whole thing, but neither have most of the international news networks, imho (Well, Al-Jazeera English has been half-decent, at least). The real problem is the thousands of homeless people left by the tsunami who’re still struggling for food, water and lodging.

  16. Norm G. says:

    why hold an international fly-away race that nobody “international” is going to fly-away to…?

  17. mugwump says:

    That seals it. Ducati is the last stop. He’ll never ride for a Japanese company again. But that was the plan anyway.

    • Kit Halsted says:

      Gonna be a lot of new Japanese names in MotoGP if the Japanese manufacturers won’t hire anyone who refuses to go to Motegi this year.

  18. Booyaaa says:

    I may start watching soap operas instead of racing

    • MikeD says:


    • Gutterslob says:

      The Spaniards and Italians (and Australians as well, I think) seem to be good at making those soap operas. I wonder if there’s a connection.

    • Ruefus says:

      Hang on a sec. You do know can do BOTH at the same time…..

      It’s called Formula One.

      Check it out. 😉

      • Gutterslob says:

        No, no … that’s just a circus headed by a (very rich) funny-looking geezer with a silver wig.

        Not a very entertaining circus, though.