Race Direction backed on cancelled practice in Japan

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The decision to cancel all practice sessions at the Twin Ring Motegi today on safety grounds has been unanimously backed by top riders in Japan.

Mist that failed to clear for the majority of the opening day made it impossible for a medical helicopter to fly into the track ahead of the Moto3 FP1 session at 9am local time.

Despite the best efforts of Dorna and circuit officials to find alternative emergency evacuation options, none suitable could be found and the entire opening day of practice was cancelled.

Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo told MCN Race Direction was left with no option to but to cancel proceedings.

“It was not a funny day today because everyone wanted to start the practice and we had some problems with the medical helicopter and I think without that it was definitely the right decision not to ride. There could be an accident on the first lap or you could make 200 laps with nothing, but we can’t play with the safety of everyone and I think it was the clever decision to take, “said the factory Yamaha rider.

Italian teammate Valentino Rossi was in agreement with the Spaniard and after spending a frustrating day sitting around at the Twin Ring Motegi, he said: “For me it is a great pity because although it was wet, it was wet for the whole day, so we could have tried in the rain. There was good temperature and no wind, so it is a pity that the problem of the helicopter meant we couldn’t ride today. We have to wait but at the end of the day it is right because the safety is the most important and I fully agree with the decision not to go on the track.”

British duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith also backed the decision of the four-member Race Direction, led by Kiwi Mike Webb.

Crutchlow said in a Monster Yamaha Tech 3 statement: ““Obviously it is disappointing for the Japanese fans not to see us ride today but the safety of everybody on track has to come first. Nobody could have predicted the circumstances preventing the medical helicopter from flying to the track but it was definitely the right decision to cancel both practice sessions and there’s no doubt Race Direction once again made the best call on safety grounds. Hopefully the weather will improve and we can ride and put on a good show on Sunday.”

And rookie Smith said: “None of us want to be sitting in the box waiting around when there are people coming to watch us ride but it was definitely the right decision to cancel practice. Rider safety is paramount and Race Direction should be applauded once again for ensuring the safety of everybody on track comes before anything else. We need to see what the conditions are like tomorrow but hopefully we can ride. It seems the best conditions will be on Sunday for the race, so all we can do is wait and see how much time the weather will allow us to be on track to prepare in the best possible way."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt