The news that the Japanese Grand Prix is set to go ahead as planned following an independent report into the risks of radiation at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit - requested by MotoGP rights holders Dorna and the FIM on behalf of the riders - comes as no great shock considering the information previously available from the World Health Organisation and other government sources.
The US Department of State, for example, had already declared that the levels outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks, whilst the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been advising "against all travel to within a 37-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility with the exception of transit through the area" but added that "the situation in Japan outside of these specific areas has largely returned to normal". Motegi lies 85 miles from Fukushima.
So perhaps the most surprising thing about a sensitive debate that has been rumbling since Jorge Lorenzo first announced his intention not to travel at a press conference in Barcelona in early June, citing a documentary about the effects of the Chernobyl disaster as the source of his discomfort, is that the riders are still refusing to go.
At the German Grand Prix two weeks ago, a full week before the initial findings of the report they themselves had supposedly requested were due to be revealed, Casey Stoner's stance could not have been made clearer. “I will not go,” stated the Australian, his defiance publicly backed up by Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa as the remainder of the field, Japanese rider Hiroshi Aoyama excluded, reportedly made their reluctance clear to Dorna chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta in a private meeting of the MotoGP Safety Commission.