22 October 2015
Malaysia: MotoGP monitoring haze at Sepang
“The situation is that we are under 100, which is a moderate level. If the levels go high, we will have to take decisions" - Dorna's Javier Alonso.
Haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia has caused air quality, and visibility, concerns for this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang.
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have been plagued by the haze for months, causing schools to be shut and the widespread use of respiratory masks.
Speaking to Crash.net in the pit lane at Sepang on Thursday, Dorna's managing director Javier Alonso said: “We have been in conversations with the people at the circuit for some time now. We knew about this problem. We thought it was going to blow away, but it's still here.
“So we requested the circuit to bring some equipment to measure the [air quality] here, so we know the real situation. Because if you look on the internet for sure you will find somewhere that will tell you it is very bad to be here now.
“The situation here, now, is that we are under 100, which is the moderate level of PSI - the Pollution Standards Index. At that level we are OK to be here and OK to do any type of activity.
“If the levels go very high, probably more than 150, we will have to take decisions. But according to what we know that should not happen. I cannot say for sure, because it's quite unpredictable, but today, yesterday and the day before the levels have stayed the same.
“If it goes really wrong we will have to take decisions, but today the situation is normal, and therefore the race will go ahead as normal.”
As well as air quality, the other haze issue is in terms of visibility for the medical helicopter.
“We have another possible problem, which is the visibility for the helicopter to fly,” Alonso confirmed. “Today the helicopter arrived so it wasn't a problem. Here you need to see between 1-1.5km. It is not like Japan where you have to have visibility between 4-5km. It's much lower here and this is the regulation in Malaysia.
“We are monitoring this [visibility] situation both in the circuit and at the hospital every hour. Now we are also checking by road how long it would take to transport an injured rider to hospital. They told us 30-35 minutes but we want to be sure they are right.
“If the time is 30-35 minutes then there is no problem to use transportation by road, if there is not enough visibility [for the helicopter].
“The forecast says there is a small chance of rain tomorrow and a big chance on Saturday. If it rains that will also help clear the haze.”
Both the MotoGP and Moto3 titles could be decided at this weekend's penultimate event of the season.
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