The Repsol Honda Team's home MotoGP race - the Grand Prix of Japan scheduled to take place this weekend - has been postponed due to the continuing disruption to flights in Europe caused by the well-publicised volcanic eruption in Iceland.
MotoGP series organisers made the decision as it became clear that it would impossible for personnel and equipment to arrive in Japan on time as the volcanic ash clouds cause widespread flight cancellations across Europe.
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso had been expecting to resume their 2010 campaigns this weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi, and both expressed disappointed at missing the opportunity to ride in front of their Japanese fans.
Dani Pedrosa says: "It is a real pity for me that the Grand Prix has been postponed because Motegi is a track I love, and this is a race that motivates me a lot because we have always achieved good results in Japan. It is also a very important race for Honda and a big disappointment for the fans."
"Anyway, at least we were lucky to be at home when this happened because many people are stuck in Europe without being able to move and, with all the travelling we do during a season, it could easily have been us who were stranded somewhere. I hope the situation gets better quickly and we can race without problems in Jerez next week".
Andrea Dovizioso says: "Well, there is nothing we can do and this volcano event is so strange that we only have to accept it! I am a little disappointed because I was very much looking forward to racing at Honda's home GP after the good result I had in Qatar. Moreover we were going to visit HRC before the race and I was looking forward to that too."
"The Motegi racetrack is special and has some characteristics which are different from other tracks so I wanted to see how the 2010 RC212V worked there. From the riders' and fans' point of view it is a pity of course, but I think that technically it can be a small advantage for us because now the technicians have more time to work on the developments we've asked for."
It is now proposed that the Grand Prix of Japan be rescheduled for October 3. The unexpected but unavoidable news means that the factory Honda squad is now looking forward to the next MotoGP race - the Grand Prix of Spain motorcycle race - which is due to take place at the Jerez circuit on Sunday 2 May.