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HRC 'clarifies' Suzuka MotoGP reports

28 August 2011

HRC has released a statement to clarify 'misunderstandings by sections of the media' regarding comments made by HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto on the possibility of moving the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix from Motegi to Suzuka.

Controversy continues to surround the planned Motegi event, which is located just over 110km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, damaged in this year's earthquake and tsunami.

With many riders still refusing to commit to the October 2 round due to radiation fears, some have suggested switching the Japanese event to Suzuka, further south, which last hosted a motorcycle grand prix in 2003.

At Brno in Mid-August, Nakamoto was asked for his opinion on such a change.

According to the HRC statement 'Nakamoto stated that, although he personally likes the Suzuka circuit layout, it would not be possible to race there instead of Motegi because the circuit does not hold the correct FIM homologation to host a MotoGP race.'

These are the HRC-approved quotes from Nakamoto:

"Suzuka Circuit does not have the correct license. To achieve the proper homologation the FIM would ask for a lot of changes and we cannot do everything. A good example is the hairpin, the run off zone is too close, but there is a road behind so it's impossible to move it any further. Without these kind of issues, Honda could consider Suzuka as an option, but at this moment we are not thinking about it".

Nakamoto continued:

"Personally, I like Suzuka, because of the circuit layout, with high speed corners and low speed corners, it's a very good course for riders, a demanding and challenging course. Motegi is a little bit stop and go, overall I like the Suzuka layout more, but this is my personal opinion and has nothing to do with racing there in 2011".

MotoGP riders held a further meeting about the Motegi round at Indianapolis on Saturday evening.

Most riders are still believed to be against attending, despite the findings of an independent report, because they believe the damaged nuclear plant has not yet been stabilised.

Worryingly for those in favour of Motegi, seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi (Ducati) - by far the most influential rider in the paddock - recently declared "I really don't think I'll go to Japan." Rossi had suggested Suzuka instead.

Fellow world champions Casey Stoner (Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) had also been firmly against Motegi, but have recently softened their stance. The pair now claim they are undecided.


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