Ducati undecided on whether to race in Japan

Published: 01 September 2011

Ducati has still not fully committed to participating in the Japanese MotoGP race in early October because of fears about the safety of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The circuit's proximity to the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was badly damaged in the devastating earthquake that struck Japan in March, has caused widespread paranoia in the paddock over fears about radiation levels.

Valentino Rossi has threatened recently to boycott the October 2 race and several members of Ducati’s factory squad have also expressed concerns about travelling to Japan.

Not even a Dorna commissioned independent report conducted by Italian experts has convinced Rossi and some Ducati personnel it is safe to race in Japan.

Ducati boss Alessandro Cicognani told MCN a final decision had still not been taken, even though the Bologna factory is contractually obliged to Spanish rights owners Dorna to compete in Japan.

"We care about our employees, so we would like to look a little deeper into what has already been told. As a company we have to check and do everything in order to understand if everything is safe because we can't afford to put our employees into a situation where there is a potential risk," said Cicognani.

"We are talking to experts to understand more clearer the situation and to help understand the concerns of our staff. In Italy there are many law issues about the security of workers, so we have to be sure that we are doing the right thing. It is not just a question of taking part in the championship, it is a question of being on the safe part of the law. I don’t doubt the Dorna report and I think in the end they did a good job but this work was done one month ago and my understanding is the situation is changing everyday," added Cicognani.

Rossi is expected to declare his final position on Japan during his home race at the Misano track this weekend, though recently he's made it no secret he's opposed to participating. During last weekend's Indianapolis MotoGP round, Rossi said he was 'scared' about racing in Japan when asked by MCN for his latest thoughts.