While Icelandic volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull grounded flights all over the world (most noticeably in northern Europe), the impact to motorcycling seemed negligible. However with the Japanese GP at Motegi scheuled for this weekend, Dorna quickly realized that teams would not be able to leave European airspace to setup camp in Japan for the next round of MotoGP. As such Dorna and the IRTA have postponed the Japanese GP, and rescheduled the event for Octoberd 3rd, between the Aragon and Malaysian GP’s.
When travel disruptions first started to appear from the volcanic eruptions, there were some rumblings about the possibility of having to cancel or postpone the Japanese GP. With the extent and duration of the ash’s presence unclear, Dorna and teams preferred to wait out the event and assess the situation as it came, but now it has become clear that it will be impossible for MotoGP to get itself out of Europe and into Japan in time for this weekend.
Early rumors cite Dorna as chartering a contingency of jets to directly fly the teams to Japan, rather than have them contend with the mess at the various international terminals across the globe. As such last night, Carmelo Ezpeleta began phoning teams to see who would be able to make the trip to Motegi, either by their own means or by Dorna sponsored flights in Spain and Italy.
As the magic 8-ball often says, the “outlook does not look good”, and the this morning Dorna officially announced that the Japanese GP would be pushed back to October 3rd. Apparently, not enough teams from MotoGP, Moto2, and 125GP would have been able to make the trip to Motegi under the current conditions.
Official Statement from the FIM:
The recent vulcano eruption in Iceland has resulted in an ash cloud cover infiltration. Air traffic space over Europe has stopped all international travel in and out of Europe.
This case of ‘force majeure’ has obliged the Grand Prix Permanent Bureau composed of the FIM President Vito Ippolito and Dorna C.E.O. Carmelo Ezpeleta, with the agreement of the Grand Prix Promoter, Mobilityland Corporation, to postpone the Grand Prix of Japan planned on 25 April 2010.
The Grand Prix Permanent Bureau proposed equally to the FIM to reschedule the Grand Prix of Japan on 3 October 2010.