Season-opening Japanese Grand Prix dropped for 2004

GENEVA: The season-opening Japanese motorcycling Grand Prix at Suzuka has been dropped from next year’s calendar because safety demands cannot be met, the sport’s governing body the FIM said yesterday. 

The Suzuka track, which also hosts a Formula One race, came under scrutiny over safety after Japanese rider Daijiro Kato died from internal injuries following an accident during this year’s motorcycling Grand Prix on April 6. 

Next year’s race was due to take place on April 4, keeping its traditional season-opening date, but the FIM said it would be omitted from the calendar because safety modifications “cannot be carried out before the Grand Prix”. 

A second Japanese race at Motegi, known as the Pacific Grand Prix, will now assume the title of Japanese Grand Prix and will take place on Sept 19. 

The FIM said talks will be held over the safety of the Suzuka circuit for 2005. – Reuters 

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