Rossi, Lorenzo fear radiation

2011-06-04 16:53

Barcelona - Leading Moto GP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo do not want to race the Japanese Grand Prix because of radiation concerns following the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.

Rossi would prefer to avoid the October 2 race but will go unless a majority decision not to race is reached by riders and their teams.

"People are very scared," Rossi, the seven-time champion, told reporters on Saturday. "The problem is, for example, that I don't really know what the real danger is.

"Everyone that I know in the paddock thinks the same, that they would prefer not to go to Japan. Let's hope we can reach a consensus and not go."

Lorenzo intends to persuade his fellow riders to boycott the race in Motegi, which lies north of Tokyo but several hundred kilometers south of the worst-affected radiation zones in northeastern Japan.

"To be asking yourself (for) your entire life if (the radiation) will affect you doesn't sit well with me," the defending world champion said from the Catalunya GP. "I'm going to try to convince as many riders as possible not to run in Japan."

He added in El Pais newspaper: "I don't want to go. I'm very young and I don't want to be asking myself if in 20 years I'll have some kind of reaction or if my children will be born with some kind of deformity."

The March earthquake and tsunami left 24 000 people dead or missing and tens of thousands of others living in evacuation centres - including residents near the Fukushima Dai-ichi power station, which was damaged in the tsunami.

Workers have been fighting to get the plant under control since the disaster caused the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.