Jorge Martinez says his Aspar team will make the trip to Motegi in October for the Japanese Grand Prix, a move that will be seen as a blow to those against the event going ahead.
As the largest team in the MotoGP paddock with entries in 125, Moto2 and MotoGP, Aspar's decision to go to Japan is seen as a significant one and will serve to strengthen opinion for the event, which was moved to October as a consequence of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that shook the region in March and damaged the Fukushima nuclear powerplant some 110km away from Motegi.
The debate over whether to go to Japan has raged for months, with Casey Stoner, and most recently Valentino Rossi, stating that they do not wish to go to the region for fear of being exposed to radiation.
However, with an independent report confirming the risk as 'negligible', the event has been given the green light by Dorna, while Tech 3 Yamaha became the first MotoGP team to confirm its presence during the Brno weekend.
Furthermore, Aspar himself points out that Dorna or Honda – which owns Twin Ring Motegi – wouldn't put the competitors at risk if there was the slightest chance of harm.
"Sometimes you talk too much without having all the information,” Aspar told motoworld.es
. “If being 120 km from the Fukushima was that bad, people would not live there. A month ago, the Japanese championship was held at Motegi and companies are going to Japan every week to continue their business. If it were serious, many multinational companies have slowed their commitments to Japan.
"What we'll do is reduce our stay. If we normally go 6 or 7 days, then we'll try to go for five days, the minimum essential. I do not think Dorna, Honda, or the most important companies related to this MotoGP would risk bringing people to a place where there was an obvious risk.”
Aspar's commitment brings the number of certain MotoGP entries to four – Hector Barbera joining Colin Edwards, Cal Crutchlow and Hiroshi Aoyama -, while Stoner, who has been particularly vocal about the situation, says his stance has softened in recent weeks.
Aspar's presence means Julian Simon will ride in the Moto2 class, while Nico Terol's title aspirations in 125GP will also be given a crucial boost by not being forced to miss a round.