Jorge Lorenzo urges Japan GP boycott

Updated: June 4, 2011, 11:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

BARCELONA, Spain -- Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo do not want to race Moto GP's Japanese Grand Prix because of radiation concerns following the earthquake and tsunami this year.

Seven-time champion Rossi says he doesn't want to compete in Japan on Oct. 2 but will go unless a majority decision not to race is reached.

Lorenzo intends to convince his fellow riders to boycott.

Now, Bill, we didn't come down here to race. We came to work and raise a family.

-- Anne B. France

"To be asking yourself (for) your entire life if (the radiation) will affect you doesn't sit well with me," Lorenzo said. "I'm going to try to convince as many riders as possible not to run in Japan."

A radiation leak from a nuclear power station damaged in March's earthquake and tsunami displaced tens of thousands because of the risk of radiation exposure.

Lorenzo, the world championship leader, qualified third Saturday for the Catalunya Grand Prix.

Italy's Marco Simoncelli brushed off death threats to take the pole position.

Simoncelli nearly slid out on his last qualifying lap on but held on to clock the quickest time of 1 minute, 42.413 seconds on his Honda. He will start from pole position on Sunday for the first time in the senior category.

Simoncelli is accompanied by two police escorts throughout the event at the Catalunya circuit after receiving death threats following his brush with Spain's Dani Pedrosa at the preceding French GP. Pedrosa needed collarbone surgery after the crash and is not competing in his home race.

Australian Casey Stoner, on a Honda, was second in 1:42.429. Lorenzo, on a Yamaha, followed in 1:42.728.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.