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Stoner and Lorenzo to Boycott Motegi

Monday, July 18, 2011
Jorge Lorenzo passes fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa and begins his charge on reigning Champ Valentino Rossi.
Less than 100 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant, the Twin Ring Motegi circuit has been a subject of debate throughout the MotoGP paddock ever since Japan's devastating earthquake and subsequent nuclear threat.
Current MotoGP world championship leader Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo have confirmed today that they won’t attend the Japanese MotoGP race in October, regardless of whether an independent inspection declares the area around the Twin Ring Motegi safe.

Repsol Honda rider Stoner and factory Yamaha rider Lorenzo could face the wrath of their Japanese employers after both made it clear that they will not attend the rescheduled race on October 2. The Twin Ring Motegi race, initially scheduled for April 24, was postponed after Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami back in March. Ever since, there has been almost constant paranoia in the paddock about staging the race because of fears about the risk of radiation caused by extensive damage suffered to the Fukushima nuclear plant.

(Here is a link to an interactive map that shows the Range of Radiation from the Damaged Fukushima Nuclear Plant by prefecture and how far the dangerous leves have reached throughout the country of Japan. We also provided the map at the bottom of this article as well. Twin Ring Motegi, home to the upcoming Japanese GP is loctaed within the highest radiation zone between Nasukarasuyama to the north and Mt. Kaba to the south - Ed.)

Lorenzo has always maintained that he won’t ride in Japan this season, but Stoner only made his position clear during the post qualifying press conference at the Sachsenring today.

“I will not go,” said Stoner. “That's my opinion and I've had it now for some time. Not as long as Jorge, I took a bit longer to make my decision, but I will not go. Most riders are of the same opinion. It's up to organizers now to figure out what is going to happen."

After crashing because of Simoncelli  Jorge Lorenzo wasnt able to get closer in the standings to Casey Stoner. - Assen 2011
Casey Stoner - 2011 Repsol Honda MotoGP
“My decision was taken a long time ago and it has not changed,” said Lorenzo. “Now I am not active in this because my decision was taken a long time ago."

One Japanese journalist in the press conference then asked Stoner and Lorenzo if they felt carrying stickers conveying messages of support to Japan on their bikes was contradictory given their refusal to attend the event.

Stoner replied: “I don't think it is a contradiction. I believe that supporting someone and being there in the same place is not necessarily the same thing. There is something that will happen and you must wait, you will understand more. To support someone and be there is not necessarily the same thing. We completely understand the situation everybody is going through in Japan because if people are scared they don't have the option to leave or do something else. Work must go on, but if something similar happened in Australia near my home I would not be going back there, it's the same. Just because we are not going there doesn't mean we are not supporting Japan, that's a different subject."

Lorenzo said: "I think that if we go there that things in Japan will not change. I really love Japan and the Japanese fans and I love to go to Motegi and race. I am Spanish and if something like that happened in Spain I would not go. If we can help Japan in another way we will do it, but going there is not real support."

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Valentino Rossi
Who is the most popular MotoGP racer in the world? Valentino Rossi. Learn more about Valentino Rossi in Motorcycle USA's Valentino Rossi page for career highlights, pictures, and news.
Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo has been a force in MotoGP since his 2008 debut, becoming one of the most dominant Grand Prix riders in the paddock with his 2010 and 2012 MotoGP championship victories. Find out more about Jorge Lorenzo by checking out Motorcycle USA's Jorge Lorenzo page for career highlights, a complete bio, and racing pictures.
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez made a huge debut in MotoGP and looks to further solidify his name among the greats. Learn about Marquez in Motorcycle-USA’s Marc Marquez bio page.

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Bristecom   July 20, 2011 10:02 PM
I just lost some respect for Lorenzo and Stoner with this... I hope none of the Americans pussy out.
werdupboyee   July 19, 2011 12:10 PM
Spending a week in the "red zone" on the map is about equivalent to the radiation dose from a round trip flight from L.A to New York and back (The dose would be ~80 micro-Gray, each way on the flight is ~40 micro-Gray). I think the only way it could be dangerous is from ingesting fallout from eating locally grow food.
Hutchy   July 19, 2011 11:17 AM
I added a link to the Radiation Map that Bret provided within the artilce too. A little more reserach reveals that Motegi is actually well within that Red Zone where the highest concentration of radiation is being tracked. I predict more riders join the boycott in the upcoming weeks.
Hutchy   July 19, 2011 11:04 AM
That map is kind of scary! I did some research just to see what the dangers were before posting but this map contradicts some of what I saw. Maybe the AJRRS regulars who are already exposed shoudl all get Wild card rides that weekend? Grids full & Japan gets a GP? Maybe Akira Yanagawa would be willing to race!
Bret   July 19, 2011 10:14 AM
After looking at a map of the radiation levels in Japan, I really don't blame them at all. Motegi is right next to the border of Ibaraki. Ibaraki is the area with the high radiation, an area that should be evacuated, but isn't. With Japan's heavy population, I am sure people live in that area still and are carrying radiation on them. It is nothing to be taken lightly. Radiation doesn't just go away. It will be there for many years. This is the map I am looking at. http://www.targetmap.com/viewer.aspx?reportId=4870 Now as for Lorenzo's and Stoner's attitudes, I am not surprised one bit that they are the first to refuse. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
Race650   July 19, 2011 09:52 AM
I didn't know MotoGP racers were also nuclear scientists? How do a couple of throttle monkeys really think they can understand how radiation leakage works and how it could affect their bodies? Stop trying to pretend your smart, boys, you're not fooling anybody. Just ride the damn motorcycles like you're supposed to.
charlie toast   July 19, 2011 09:16 AM
I think it's entirely understandable for them to boycott the event. Just because the Fukushima incident has dropped out of the Western press doesn't mean there's no danger. At first, comparisons with Chernobyl were ridiculed. Now the total amount of radiation released is comparable to Chernobyl, and radiation continues to leak out. Food products from the area can no longer be exported. Since the Ukraine is vast and has a low population density, it was feasible to permanently evacuate the Chernobyl area. The Japanese, with their high population density don't have that option - so the fact that people have to continue to live in the contaminated area doesn't mean it's safe to do so.
Shnapper   July 19, 2011 08:37 AM
The fears are understandable, easy for everyone to call out brash insults from the safety of a chair. I personally think Motegi should have been taken off the schedule until further notice. Stoner and Lorenzo don't show up and I'm pretty positive 99% of the people in japan won't notice with all that's going on. However if Stoner, Lorenzo and the rest of the paddock show up I'd bet money that the people of japan would think they were nuts for doing so.
wildpig   July 19, 2011 07:03 AM
whatsa lil radaition with yer racing gas fumes? go ducati,, hell with bmw.
22AaronW   July 19, 2011 04:13 AM
How awesome would it be if Lorenzo showed up at the last minute and took the championship points lead?
guambra2001   July 18, 2011 07:16 PM
You fricking pansies!!! This is the dummest thing I have heard in a while, to be scared of "possible" radiation, even though test shows that it will be safe for them to ride. Wow, drama queens.
iowaboynca   July 18, 2011 06:50 PM
This is so selfish and stupid on 2 different fronts. 1.) They probably are exposed to as much if not more radiation on the flight trip to and from each race. Casey, why didn't you boycott Phillip Island at the beginning of the year when the hole in the ozone is at its worst? Better yet don't go to Laguna Seca this week since we're starting to see an uptick in radiation levels in our rainwater here in Northern CA. For 2 guys who put their lives on the line every Sunday, this seems a bit childish. 2.) From a competition stand point, way to give an upper hand to your competing teams. Think about it. Last week, if I walked up to every team manager and stated, "At 5-1 odds on the value of my house,poor market or not, I can GUARANTEE you that the 2 leaders in points will have at least one DNF in one of the upcoming races. Will that help your planning for the rest of the year?"- I bet I'd be walking out of the paddock right now a very rich man...
zrexca   July 18, 2011 06:49 PM
This just proves what prima donnas todays profesional athelets really are. The people who built their bikes live and work in this area 24-7-365 and these highly paid riders can not even make an apperance for just one weekend. I bet Honda and Yamaha would build them lead rooms to hide in between practice and the races.
jng1226   July 18, 2011 06:47 PM
I'll be the first to say it - they are morons and elitist hypocrites. That Japanese journalist nailed them with his question and their (especially Stoner's) chickensh*t answers exposes them for what they really are. For guys that risk their necks big-time every day on the job, they really are a bunch of pu$$ies. The FIA should sanction them with major point deductions and I hope that Andrea Dovizioso wins the MotoGP championship as a result. I would prefer him winning over the Aussie A$$hole and the Rossi-wannabe. Dovi reminds me of Eddie Lawson - just like "Steady Eddie" he just does the business every weekend, no queer podium celebrations or dismissive attitudes like the other 2.
Hutchy   July 18, 2011 03:51 PM
Japan just won the Women's World Cup so they should be OK if a few bike racers boycott their GP race, right? I am not sure which way to vote on this. My knee jerk is Jorge & Casey are morons but then again I am not being asked to go there. The weekend woudl be three days 100 miles from the plant so it seems like a low risk proposition. But then again, this sport requires a clear head & it seems they would be thinking about what superhero power their great-grandkids might be born with if they actually went there. That woudl be pretty cool though. I think it would go like this:

Stoner offspring: Uncanny speed or the ability to fly
Lorenzo offspring: Shape shifters or Telekinesis