Hiroshi Aoyama has urged his MotoGP compatriots to trust the reports that have declared the Japanese Grand Prix as a safe event to attend in order for them to 'cheer up the people that are suffering inside'.
As Japan's only rider competing in the MotoGP class, Aoyama has been steadfast in supporting the Motegi event, which was rescheduled for October 2nd in the wake of the tsunami and earthquake that devastated the country in March.
However, it is Motegi's proximity to the Fukushima Nuclear plant, which was damaged in the disaster, that has raised concerns among riders, with many still uncertain as to whether it is safe to race in Japan as a result.
Despite this, Aoyama has always maintained he will race on home soil regardless, the Gresini Honda rider insisting it is important to understand that life in Japan, and around the affected area, is continuing without worry. Even so, Aoyama says he understands the trepidation of his counterparts.
“We were a very lucky country and I would say thanks to all the people who supported the Japanese people in Japan,” he said. “And what I can do now is still try to race and try to give my best in the race and show good news. And cheer up the people who are still suffering inside. And so because of this, I would say let's go to Japan to make a MotoGP race.
“You know, we checked, the independent company (ARPA) checked the situation of Japan, so they said it's OK, we can go. So now the race is going on. I'm very happy about that. But still some people are doubting or thinking - I fully understand the situation - but if they would go to Japan to race, I am very happy and I appreciate all the guys who go to Japan.”
Touching on a document that was signed by every MotoGP rider – except for Aoyama - at Mugello asking for more information on the situation, the former 250GP champion says it is important for riders to trust what they are now being told.
“I know everything is OK and we can go. And Japanese government said it's OK. And afterward also Italy, Spain, America, they say you can travel to Japan. So that means it's OK and I trust this.
“It's a difficult situation for European people. I am Japanese, so anyway, I have a house there so I go home, even in a disaster situation. It's a completely different situation. And if I'm in a different situation, like the other side, for sure I would think about it.