Japan’s devastating recent earthquake and tsunami won’t impact on forthcoming races in the MotoGP world championship.
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent deadly tsunami was one of the biggest natural disasters in Japan’s history and forced the immediate postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi, scheduled to take place on April 24.
Infrastructure at the circuit suffered damage and there were reports of that cracks appearing in the track. Roads in between Tokyo and Mito, the closest major city to the circuit and where most race personnel reside for the race, also suffered extensive damage.
The race has been put back to October 2, but most insiders in the paddock say it is highly unlikely that there will be a Japanese Grand Prix at all in 2011. It is the second year in succession that the Twin Ring Motegi event has been postponed.
Last year’s was postponed following the volcanic ash cloud crisis that prevented most of the paddock from flying from Europe to the Far East.
One concern as the result of the chaos and disruption caused in Japan was that the major factories like Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki would run short of spare parts for forthcoming races like the Estoril round in Portugal and French Grand Prix in Le Mans.
But all said production won’t be severely hampered and in the worst-case scenario, production could be shifted to ensure supplies didn’t run short.
All of Bridgestone’s MotoGP tyres are manufactured in Japan but spokesman Tom Tremayne said: “Production in Japan has been affected but we have enough resources to meet MotoGP demand. We can work around the disruption to maintain supply.”
Suzuki boss Shinichi Sahara said supply of current parts for the factory GSV-R was not an issue, but that future development might be affected and testing for the 2012 1000cc rules would inevitably be hit.
“We have no problems for the next few races at all. But developing new parts might be a slower process now, “said Sahara.
HRC Vice-President said the earthquake had affected some HRC suppliers, including Keihin, which produces fuel management systems and electronics.
Nakamoto said: “If we can’t make a part we will find another supplier. The earthquake affected some suppliers but we can find different suppliers in Japan. We are not facing a difficulty with parts and we can race no problem. The big supplier is Keihin that supplies ECU and injectors. But we have a lot of stock.”