Motegi MotoGP Round Canceled, Rescheduled For October 3rd

The cloud of volcanic ash which hangs invisibly over Northern Europe has claimed its first victim in the shape of a major sporting event. The disruption and cancellation of 80% of flights around Europe has caused the Motegi round of MotoGP, due to take place next Sunday, April 25th, to be canceled and rescheduled for October 3rd.

Reports of problems started to emerge earlier this weekend, as MotoMatters.com reported yesterday. Teams - most of whom are based in Europe, and were therefore caught up in the air travel chaos - reported they were monitoring the situation closely, hoping for improvement, and trying to reschedule flights as soon as possible. Dorna had even gone so far as to charter two wide body jets, capable of flying 600 people to Japan directly, to avoid teams getting caught up in the snarl of international air traffic.

But last night, according to GPOne.com, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta started phoning round team bosses to investigate whether the teams could get enough of their staff to Spain and Italy to fly out to Japan. But there were some teams for whom even this would be impossible, and it was decided to call off the entire event. Contacting team managers, team members and everyone involved has been extremely difficult, as even MotoGP teams like to have a weekend off. Indeed, our own attempts to contact teams has proven difficult, with only some teams managing to respond to your requests, and conflicting information from those who did reply. Eventually, though, it became clear that the event had been canceled.

The rescheduling of the race will not meet with much enthusiasm in the paddock, however. Running the Japanese Grand Prix on October 3rd will put all three flyaway races on back-to-back weekends once again, leaving the teams and riders facing long haul flights from Japan to Malaysia, then from Malaysia to Australia on two consecutive Mondays. That grueling travel schedule, combined with time zone shifts, makes it difficult for teams and riders to perform at the level they need to for a MotoGP weekend. The alternative - complete cancellation, and another year of 17 Grand Prix - would not have been acceptable, however.

Back to top

Comments

Ah, well. That's force majeure for ya.

Ironic that it's the one race where the tyres don't have to set off on a banana boat 8 weeks in advance.

Total votes: 86

Damn Icelanders! They should do more to keep their damn volcanoes under control! This is unacceptable! I DEMAND ACTION!! If they won't do anything (worthless commie-socialist-hippy Europeans!), a few well placed nukes ought to shut that volcano's pie-hole!

- God Bless America!

Total votes: 73

You have to be the smartest person i ever came across. (irony, in case you were to stupid to notice)

Total votes: 84

"WOOOOOOSH!!!!"

LOL!

My Irony-O-Meter is working perfectly, thank you!
Methinks you should check out the fool in the mirror before calling someone else 'stupid.'

Total votes: 87

I think you missed the point.

However, I don't really think we need to get into name-calling here. Stupid will be addressed by David. No need to call it out since it usually leads to something like this.

Total votes: 88

David, I think your April Fool's Day "Iceland GP" joke story may have backfired on us!! :((

Total votes: 86

That was one of the first things that occurred to me. Sorry everyone, it's my fault!

Total votes: 88

I was worried that the volcano and its impending pyroclastic flow was going to delay the first Icelandic MotoGP races.. ;)

Total votes: 88

This is a blessing in disguise for Rossi and Lorenzo as they will have a few weeks of uninterrupted recuperation from their injuries.
That said, I want my racing dammit.

Total votes: 82

This seems a little too rash to me. The situation could change in two days. The equipment is already there, it seems there could be some other travel alternatives.

Total votes: 85

I'd have to agree it's a little rash. With Southern Europe largely unaffected by the "Cloud from Hell", surely they could fly out from.. somewhere? I know it would be somewhat of a logistical nightmare but come on!! :((

Total votes: 76

And how are the many engineers, riders and other team members supposed to get to that somewhere from the UK and the other northern European countries affected by the cloud? Train and ferry services are already fully booked and it isn't possible to drive across the English channel so at the very least the members of the paddock who live in the UK would be unable to make it.

Total votes: 82

I was mainly referring to the time left available prior to Motegi (the original Motegi date). But really, this whole Iceland volcano travel fiasco is a serious indictment of the "nanny state" the Western world has turned into. We'll never know, but I seriously wonder if ANY problems would have been encountered by A/C if flights hadn't been stopped. Corporations, nation-states, et al. are SO petrified by potential legal actions that we've become afraid to do ANYTHING even remotely, possibly dangerous... except motor race, thank goodness! ;)

Total votes: 88

" This seems a little too rash to me. The situation could change in two days. The equipment is already there, it seems there could be some other travel alternatives. "

Yes...Camel across the Silk Road to China, and then a boat over to Japan :-)

Total votes: 93

Oh my! The inmates get a little feisty when we don't have our racing as scheduled. I loved the comment Geonerd. Funny!

"Faster, Faster, Until The Thrill of Speed Overcomes The Fear of Death." ~
Hunter S. Thompson

Total votes: 78

LOL! Dang right we get twitchy! :)
Between WSBK and the Qatar GP, the racing has been as good as one could hope (Hell, even 2 or the 3 EffWun races have been semi-entertaining!), yet I'm still not entirely cured of winter's Racing Deprivation Syndrome. "I need another fix, SOON!"
[Wraps mouse cord around bicep whilst furiously tapping inside of elbow, all the while yelling "Vrooom, vrooom!"]

Total votes: 84

Perhaps i've been spoiled but since when have 6-8 hour flights been long haul? And the time difference between Japan and Australia (EST) is 2 hours, hardly a jetlag inducing difference.

Total votes: 76

I've done those legs and esp in first class (which MotoGP riders get to fly) it is very doable. It basically means you get a morning flight and have dinner upon arrival. The biggest hassle is probably getting from Motegi to Narita, as the track is in the middle of nowhere.
And time zones- Japan & Malaysia are 1 hour apart- Malaysia & Victoria/Oz 2 hrs. No jetlag there!

PS: Long-haul flights are flights beyond 6hrs. As a European that puts me on another continent, for an Ozzie it simply means getting to the other side of the country ;)

Total votes: 73

Actually, the MotoGP riders I've seen flying long distance have all been in business class, not first class. Now, business class is pretty comfortable, but it's still not ideal preparation for a race. And it's about 7 hours from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur, and 9 hours from KL to Melbourne.

Total votes: 85

I was mildly offended with the idea they were taking 2 weeks to get from Losail to Motegi and then only one week to get back to Europe.  I guess The Universe saw it the same way... ;-)

Total votes: 81