Next month’s Japanese Grand Prix motorcycle race has been postponed until October because of the catastrophic damage from the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks.
The race had been scheduled for April 24 and will still be held at the Motegi circuit, 120km north of Tokyo, on October 2.
The Japanese GP will fall in the weeks between the Spanish round at Aragon and Phillip Island in Australia,
The International Motorcycling Federation said it made the switch because of “the disasters” and after a request from the MotoGP race organisers.
The race was also postponed last year until October because of air travel disruption caused by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland.
Meanwhile, this weekend marks the end of a long winter of waiting as the hugely anticipated 2011 MotoGP season bursts into life on the floodlit Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) steps up to the grid to challenge for a second title at the controls of his YZR-M1 with nothing less than victory in his sights.
Joining him in the garage and completing Yamaha Factory Racing’s line up for this season will be 2010 MotoGP Rookie of the Year Ben Spies.
The 2010 season saw Lorenzo firmly cement his place as one of the Grand Prix elite. The 23-year-old Mallorcan stormed through the 18-round season to take an impressive nine race wins and a premier class record breaking 383 point tally on his way to title victory
Meantime, multiple MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi (Ducati) has again hinted at his interest in a possible move to the World Superbike championship.
Having experienced both the Ducati 1198 and Yamaha R1 to test his fitness the Italian rider said this week: “In a few years, when I’m older, I could even race in Superbikes with Ducati.”
It is likely the Italian will take the opportunity of riding a few superbike races as a wildcard to assess the situation and aid his work on the next Ducati superbike.
The switch would be a great coup for the production-based series that has been claiming to have been cheated by the MotoGP’s decision to allow for road bike based machines, with Moto2 running Honda CBR600RR engines and the revised 1000cc rule changes in 2012.
Many Grand Prix riders have successfully transferred to WSB, with American John Kocinski and more recently Italian Max Biaggi taking championships. The illustrious honour of winning in both series has yet to be had and with Rossi’s penchant for record hunting this could be a likelihood, that is if Spies doesn’t get there first.
Photo courtesy Suzuki