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The Motegi round of MotoGP is now cleared to go ahead as planned. Today, the FIM issued a press release announcing that the official results had come back from ARPA, the independent Italian agency commissioned by Dorna and the FIM to measure radiation levels in and around the Motegi circuit, and that the official report backs up the findings of the preliminary report the FIM and Dorna had received last week, after which they had issued a press release.
The race at Laguna Seca underlines the lessons from the last race at the Sachsenring. There are currently three riders in this championship who are head and shoulders above the rest (there should be four, but the fourth one is currently handicapped by his machinery, more of which later), with virtually nothing to choose between them. Minor setup tweaks and injuries make the difference between first and third place, and the racing has been pretty good because of it.
The long-awaited report from the FIM is in, containing a preliminary version of the report commissioned to investigate radiation levels at Motegi. As expected, the report finds no danger to health from radiation in and around Motegi, in line with all the other data coming in from Japan on radiation levels around the area, both official and unofficial. And as a consequence, the FIM and Dorna stated that there will be an announcement later this week that the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi will go ahead as scheduled, barring any further serious incidents.
After qualifying at Laguna Seca, there should be few doubts left over who is the favorite for the race on Sunday. Jorge Lorenzo left pit lane and proceeded to put down such a scorching pace - a 1'21.9 on just his second full lap - that left the rest breathless and unable to match him. Lorenzo then blasted out a huge string of high 1'21s - race pace, according to Ben Spies - before pitting and going on to set pole. As Spies put it to reporters, "Everybody's scratching their heads over Jorge's race pace. Casey got down there for one lap, but Jorge did five of those in a row."
Friday brought typical Monterrey Peninsula weather to Laguna Seca: cool and overcast in the morning, with temperatures rising and the sun out in the afternoon, but surprisingly, the times did not really tumble during the second session of practice. The difference between the fastest time in each of the two sessions was just a quarter of a second, despite a much warmer track.
One of the things that has come up again and again when discussing whether or not the MotoGP race should go ahead at Motegi is the levels of radiation that riders, teams, journalists and fans might potentially be exposed to, and the related dangers such exposure might bring. As radiation is one of the most poorly understood - by the general public, at least - of risks that humans are exposed to, it is helpful to visualize such exposure in some other way than with raw numbers alone.
Reports and rumors that Ben Bostrom would make a wildcard appearance at Laguna Seca had emerged late Saturday night at the Sachsenring MotoGP race, with the peerless Italian website GPOne.com the first site to break the news. The rumors quickly gained traction, as it became clear there was a large PR push behind the American, and now, Bostrom's participation has been confirmed for the Laguna Seca MotoGP race as a wildcard.