Jorge Lorenzo: “I don’t want to go to Japan. I don’t feel safe to go there. I do not want to wait 20 years wondering if something will happen to me or my children. You will not convince me.”
A final decision on whether the Japanese MotoGP race will go ahead in early October is expected to be taken by the Mugello round next month. The contentious issue of whether the Twin Ring Motegi race, currently rescheduled for October 2 after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March, will be staged rumbled on in Catalunya last weekend.
Fears about radiation caused by the extensive damage suffered to the Fukushima nuclear plant has spread a culture of fear in parts of the MotoGP paddock, particularly with several high profile riders. Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo is the one most gripped by paranoia, the Spaniard ramming home his reluctance to race in Japan.
Such is Lorenzo’s anxiety about it that he cast aside his bitter rivalry with former factory Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi to stage an impromptu meeting in the Spaniard’s motorhome.
“I don’t want to go to Japan,” said Lorenzo. “I don’t feel safe to go there. I do not want to wait 20 years wondering if something will happen to me or my children. You will not convince me. I guess 99% of the riders are not so excited to go there. I went to speak to Valentino because he has strong power in the paddock and if some of the strong riders decide not to go then I think the race will be difficult for the organization to make it. But I don’t know if some riders are completely decided to not go.”
Dorna told the riders in the Friday night Safety Commission meeting that the race is 99% certain to go ahead.
“A lot of people are scared about this situation,” said Rossi. “I think the best way is to wait for three months to understand how the situation develops, but I think the Grand Prix is on. Jorge is very scared about Motegi and he wanted to know my position. But I said I want to wait to understand the situation.”