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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Race at Suzuka, says Honda boss


RADIATION concerns still has a select group of MotoGP riders yet to commit to the Japanese GP, but according to Honda MotoGP team principal Shuhei Nakamoto the race could be saved by switching the event from Motegi to Suzuka.

After the tsunami and earthquake devastated the country in March, the date of Japanese GP was postponed from April and moved to October 2nd. However concerns have risen throughout the MotoGP contingent over the risk of radiation levels at the circuit from a leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant 100 miles away.

Vocal in their fears about riding at Motegi were the likes of Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, all of whom insisted they would not travel to Japan. An independent review has been since been conducted declaring the circuit safe and race officials have confirmed that the race will continue as planned.

Stoner has admitted that he is likely to compete after revealing his concerns grew from the announcement of his wife's pregnancy. Along with this an email from Dorna to IRTA which was then relayed onto the teams has demanded that the everyone must honour their contracts regarding the race, leading to reports that the factory Yamaha team will race alongside the various teams who have already committed - including Tech 3 Yamaha and Aspar.

However the attendance of Rossi still remains uncertain, as the Italian believes that the riders should stay united as reported by GPone - they have more influence if they "stick together".

Nakamoto thinks that switching to Suzuka would be an ideal solution, as the circuit - which held the Japanese round from 1987 to 2003 - is over 400 miles away from the danger zone and would help keep the event running this year, even if the race is in six weeks time.

Speaking to Motosprint, Nakamoto said: "I say that we could race this year at Suzuka and then go back to Motegi from next year.

"Besides, I like Suzuka better: the circuit is nicer and more technical. The international federation has taken away the homologation of the Suzuka track, so it would need some dispensation, and that would need to be done quickly.

"For sure three years ago the Suzuka track has undergone important renovation works to the circuit, the run-off areas, and the service roads around the track.

"The paddock has remained a bit outdated, but for just once it wouldn't bother anyone. And the Suzuka Eight Hours, held regularly, demonstrates that bikes, too, can race there."

A major problem facing this plan is the removal of Suzuka's certification by the FIM following the death of Daijiro Kato in 2003. This was something that Nakamoto further elaborated on, as his desire for MotoGP to race at Suzuka again comes from a personal preference over the fast and technical circuit compared to the stop-and-go nature of Motegi. The former circuit would need to achieve approval from the FIM with issue regarding the run-off at turn 11 - changes that would be difficult to implement.

source: visordown

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