Leading MotoGP riders content that Motegi race went ahead after radiation fears
|By Matt Beer||Monday, October 3rd 2011, 16:38 GMT|
Japanese Grand Prix winner Dani Pedrosa says the MotoGP riders had no qualms about the Motegi race going ahead, though others still hinted at concerns over radiation.
There were fears in the MotoGP paddock that it would be unsafe to race at Motegi this year following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, causing major damage to the Fukashima nuclear power plant.
Some leading riders threatened to boycott the race, but the whole field attended in the end after various indepedent studies underlined that the radiation hazard was not an issue.
"Before coming here, everybody was a bit scared and asking about this and that, 'how is it here', about the food and all that," said Pedrosa.
"Once you're here, I was quite surprised. Everything went quite well and I think it was the right thing to do."
But world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who was one of the most vocal in his concerns about Japan, said he felt the effects of any radiation present would only be seen in the future.
"We are alright at this moment. Let's see how we are in some years..." he said.
"But at this moment we are okay and the situation seems okay - no radiation, everything is good."
He underlined that he had no issues with the country or its people.
"My view about Japan has always been very, very good," said Lorenzo. "I love Japan, I love the food, I love the fans. They are always really respectful with the riders and very, very happy.
"I don't have any problem with Japan - the opposite, I always like to be here and that's it."
Current points leader Casey Stoner defended the riders' worries, saying the evidence about the radiation risk was still uncertain when the boycott was first mooted.
"In my opinion, the riders all got a lot of pressure many months ago when the situation still wasn't clear," he said.
"We all got our own opinions from people we trust, and the more time that passed the more clear things became and the easier it was for us to make the decision.
"We can see that everyone seems okay and seems normal. But you don't see these things, it's not easy to spot.
"But for sure, our trip here has been like normal, like in the past, and next year will be even more clear."