Motorcycle Racing News Motegi MotoGP: Japan Earthquake Update

Motegi MotoGP: Japan Earthquake Update


2011 MotoGP

Shinya Nakano has given an update on the state of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, which is due to host Round 15 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship on October 2nd having been rescheduled following the earthquake which struck in March.

Nakano, who since last year has been part of the promotion team for the MotoGP of Japan, visited the circuit on March 19, just eight days after the earthquake. He rode the MotoGP track to assess its condition, and explained the current situation with regards to the repair work that is being carried out.

Shinya Nakano says: “Mobilityland (the promoters) asked me to look at the track and give my opinion due to my MotoGP experience, even though I have retired. I did the first run in a car and it seemed there had not been any severe damage, although when I went out on a Honda CBR1000 and took certain riding lines at speed – as in a race situation – I saw three areas which had been damaged.

“There were some undulations in the braking points at turns one and three, and a small gap at the hairpin before the back straight.

“Mobilityland has called together various riders and drivers in order to gather their individual opinions, and it has the intention of completely repairing these damaged areas. The work to repair the track is already underway.

“This work is scheduled to be completed in the first few days of June. The rain season is about to start in Japan, but I am planning to revisit in mid-June to ride once again and assess the track. Mobilityland has also organised its first sporting event, which will be the Japanese Championship on July 3rd, and of course I will keep watching the situation.”

On the subject of spectator areas, Nakano added: “Aside from the track, both the control tower and grandstands are fine. There was a little damage to the glass in the VIP area, which is on the top floor of the main grandstand, but it is not a major problem.”

Concluding, Nakano gave his personal view of the ongoing recovery of the country from the earthquake.

Shinya Nakano says: “The images of the disaster have caused me heartache. It does concern me that the nuclear centre is nearby, and that there are refugees living close to it. However, the town of Motegi and those surrounding it have fully recovered their essential amenities such as water, light, roads etc, and the children are going to school every day.

“Everybody in both Mito and Utsunomiya like in Chiba – where I live and which is close to Narita international airport – are all living normally. Sporting events such as the baseball and football leagues have delayed the starts of their respective seasons due to the earthquake, but they are already playing games normally.”

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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