MotoGP Riders Soften Motegi Boycott Stance

August 15, 2011
Scott Mathews
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There are few people worthy of getting an audience with Mathews but he makes himself available on occasion to the racers of the Grand Prix paddock. If they’re lucky, he might even mention their name. He’s Scott Mathews, and he’s bringing you the inside scoop on MotoGP.

Casey Stoner - Le Mans 2011
In a recent interview Casey Stoner revisited his decision not to go to Motegi, saying: “…that [it] came from a very strong emotion after I found out that Adriana (Stoner’s wife) was pregnant.”

Casey Stoner says he’s not completely ruled out racing in the re-scheduled Japanese MotoGP round in October. But the Aussie revealed his much-publicized concerns about the Twin Ring Motegi race are because his wife Adriana is expecting the couple’s first baby next February.

Stoner has been a vocal opponent of attending the race on October 2 because of fears about radiation levels surrounding the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The race was originally due to take place on April 24 but was postponed following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March. The Fukushima nuclear plant is almost 80 miles from the Twin Ring Motegi and suffered extensive damage, and ever since a rider boycott has threatened the re-scheduled race.

A Dorna commissioned independent report that declared the area around the circuit free from radiation contamination has not alleviated some people’s concerns. Repsol Honda rider Stoner has since backed down on his original stance of pledging not to attend even if the race was given the go ahead. But the 2007 world champion has also said he could still not travel to Japan at the end of September.

Speaking in Brno he said: “There was a period basically after Silverstone where I felt very strongly that I wasn’t going to go there. I’d set in my mind there was no way I was going to Japan after things I’d seen and heard. But that came from a very strong emotion after I found out that Adriana was pregnant. We’ve discussed it a lot since then and that’s a huge thing that’s happened in my life and now the most important. For me to make that decision I felt that was the best thing I

Cal Crutchlow underwent surgery on April 7 to resolve arm pump issues during the opening two rounds at Qatar and Jerez.
As the Japanse Grand Prix approaches Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s  Cal Crutchlow has decided that he will participate.

could do at that time. I’d made my mind up and there was no way I was going to risk my wife or my family and it was very tough. But in these weeks I’ve taken a lot of data from Australia and people I feel I can trust on the matter and I’m now slightly more open to it than I was before. I was thinking a lot about the safety issues for my family but we will see in these next weeks and continue talking. I’m not saying that I’m going but I’m not saying I’m not now. We’ve got a lot more information and a detailed description of what it is like over there and what the situation is compared to everyday life. I’m still not convinced but I’m more open to the possibility of racing there. Adriana definitely won’t be going and I’ll be spending the minimal time possible if I did go.”

If Stoner didn’t agree to race in Japan, he would be in breach of his HRC contract and would inevitably face some form of punishment. But he said that didn’t faze him and his final decision would not be swayed by any pressure from Honda management to attend.

“Honda have always been talking to me about it and it wouldn’t matter to me what anybody said. This is something that Adriana, my family and myself have made a decision about. When we do make a decision it will be just between us and not be for another reason or anybody putting pressure on us. It will just be whether we think it is safe for myself to go or not.”

Texan Colin Edwards finished sixth in Round 3 as he continues to post top-10 results this season. - 2011
American Colin Edwards has also reversed his initial decision after new evidence was released by Italian university experts. 

British rider Cal Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Colin Edwards have confirmed that they will definitely race in the re-scheduled Japanese MotoGP round. Both had been reluctant to travel to the Twin Ring Motegi because of concerns over possible radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Both were initially adamant they would not compete but now both say they have not ruled out not participating based on the latest evidence released by Italian university experts who conducted a thorough investigation on behalf of Dorna.

The first riders to confirm they will definitely race in Japan though are Crutchlow and Edwards after Herve Poncharal’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team released a statement in Brno. It read: “After carefully considering the findings of a detailed independent report commissioned by Dorna into the possible risk of radiation contamination in and around the area surrounding the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, Colin Edwards, Cal Crutchlow and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team can confirm that unless there is a change in circumstances, they will compete in the Japanese MotoGP race on October 2.”

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