Speaking in an official Q&A, the executive vice president of Honda Racing Corporation, Shuhei Nakamoto, has confirmed that the Motegi circuit was damaged in Friday’s earthquake. While the HRC office in Saitama Prefecture was not damaged, the general infrastructure problems and huge scale of the disaster could impact Honda’s racing operations.
“For sure the situation is very difficult in Japan, and our thoughts are with all the people directly involved,” stated Nakamoto. “At HRC, we have been lucky with no big problems, even if now it is difficult to work at our head office – we can work only five hours per day due to the power restrictions put in place. Also access to the office is very difficult – the main train cannot reach Asakadai station – the closest to our office, and it is very complicated to reach work with only 50% of trains operating. Because of this situation many people try to come by car, but now the traffic is incredibly heavy and is taking up to 3 hours to reach HRC, instead of only 1 and it’s hard to get petrol as petrol stations are closed. Another problem is related to our suppliers. Many of them cannot work at the moment, and this is a potential problem for the racing activities in the coming weeks. So far we have all spare parts we need for Qatar and Jerez races, but after that, if the situation will not change, we will have to manage this carefully. Anyway, everybody in Japan is trying their best to fix the situation and we hope all together we will solve all problem as soon as possible.”
HRC’s office is in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo.
Speaking of the decision to reschedule the Motegi MotoGP round to October, Nakamoto said, “This was definitely the correct decision. Motegi has some circuit and grandstand damage. It will take some weeks to repair everything but I believe Motegi Circuit will do a good job soon.”