On Thursday in the Czech Republic, MotoGP World Championship leader Casey Stoner announced that he is to become a father for the first time.

The 25-year-old Repsol Honda rider, married to Adriana, won the 2007 world championship for Ducati and starts this weekend's Brno round with a 20 point lead over Yamaha's reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner also explained that his wife's pregnancy was a major factor in his reluctance to attend the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

At the Sachsenring in mid-July Stoner had stated "I will not go", due to radiation fears, but he has softened his stance during the summer break.

"There was a period after Silverstone that I felt very strongly that I wasn't going to go there. After things I'd seen and heard," commented the Australian. "But that came from a very strong emotion after we 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. I felt that the best thing I could do at that time was to make my mind up. 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, people we feel we can trust on the matter, and I'm now slightly more open to it than I was before. I think people can understand I was taken a little bit with my safety and that of my family in this matter.

"We'll see in these next weeks, we'll continue talking and try and find out as much information as we can. I'm not saying that I am going, but I'm not saying that I'm not now. So we'll just have to see what happens in the near future."

Lorenzo had also said he will not attend the Motegi event and the majority of MotoGP riders signed a petition against holding the race.

However, an independent study recently declared that "the radiation risk during the [Motegi] event is negligible" and the Japanese MotoGP is thus expected to go ahead as planned on October 2.

The four other riders present at the Brno press conference on Thursday - Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham - said that they would also wait further before making a firm decision, with a riders' Safety Commission meeting planned for Friday.

Motegi is around 110 km from the damaged Fukushima power plant.

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