The Suzuka Circuit began work on key modifications to the track layout and safety measures last week in accordance with recommendations from the FIM, FIA and Japanese Motorcycle and Automobile Federations. The circuit came under heavy criticism in the wake of the tragic accident which took the life of Daijiro Kato last April and was struck from the MotoGP calendar for 2004. Now the circuit organisers are taking all the necessary measures to rebuild its reputation as a safe venue for motorcycle racing and ensure that it is reinstated to the championship as soon as possible.
The work is centred around various points on the track itself, with a new chicane between the hairpin and the 200R corner which should reduce speed and heighten security. Also, a new pit-lane entry will be constructed 150 metres closer to the exit from the Casio Triangle chicane, designed to define it more clearly from the entry to the start-finish straight. Finally, the safety zone on the entry to the 130R corner will be widened.
Previous reformations at the circuit had begun in December 2000, with modifications to the Dunlop corner and the esses.
Further updates were made between January and March 2003 to the 130R corner and Casio Triangle chicane. This latest series of changes should only take a matter of weeks and circuit officials are predicting completion before the end of February.