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GP Week : Issue 135
GPWEEK OPINION >> MotoGP.com. But when it came to going, it was different. Despite all evidence to the contrary, an almost voodoo-like fear of radiation overcame the ‘With You Japan’ sentiment expressed by the stickers on all MotoGP bikes. At least until contracts and the exigencies of the championship intervened. It is not to suggest that riders like Stoner, Lorenzo, Rossi and their cohorts did not feel sincere sympathy for the 20,000 missing or dead, and the many tens of thousands more Japanese left homeless. But all, at one time or another, expressed doubt about the importance of holding a mere workaday motorcycle GP there, when there were so many more pressing concerns. This is a case with strong arguments on both sides. Those against the race compare the frivolity of the event with the dire needs of the populace. Those for it see it as expressing sense of renewal, of a return to business as usual. But homing in on the irrelevancy of the GP demeans MotoGP, and the riders’ own importance as sporting heroes. It also treads heavily over my own belief – that it is not for MotoGP to decide whether holding the event would be beneficial overall to the stricken nation, but for Japan itself. Who will be there this weekend? All the leading players certainly, and I reckon all the other riders too. Although Capirossi won a painful reprieve via doctor’s note, injuring his shoulder at Aragon. Karel Abraham, also injured in that race, has said he will be there, though he too had a good excuse for missing it. As for the rest, apart from a handful of mechanics, the Italian press corps decided en masse not to take the risk of going to Japan. There was apparently one dissenter .. . but we shall see. By the way, never forget Barry Sheene’s dictum: When the flag drops, the bullshit stops. thought he’d just stepped out of a rough nightclub. In the interview pen, Felipe grabbed Lewis Hamilton violently by the shoulder, and gave him a sarcastic thumbs up. The pair had had an on track rumble when Lewis hit him from behind, puncturing the Ferrari’s right rear tyre. Lewis served a drive-through, but managed to rescue his race and recover to fifth, which is more than Massa was able to do, coming home ninth. “Don’t touch me man, don’t touch me!” warned Lewis and returned to his interview with Dutch TV. He thought about it for a few seconds and then walked off, clearly angry and wanting to contain his ire. Critics will point to Lewis’s many erratic per formances this year, but by keeping cool out of the car it shows he’s learning self-control. Massa normally has more class. As the teams packed up and the drivers departed to Singapore’s nightclubs the heavens opened and dumped inches of water on the Marina Bay track. Had it come sooner, it’s possible we’d have had a more unpredictable race. But we can be fairly certain in predicting Japan’s championship result – Sebastian Vettel will be celebrating in Suzuka’s famous karaoke log cabin. This fills me with dread, because he absolutely murdered The Beatles the last time we were there. Last night, he just murdered the competition. With You Japan – or should that be To You Japan Seb set to relish his Karaoke Challenge 25