MotoGP set to advent in India by 2023



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MotoGP to install race in India Image: Tilke

Sports company Dorna (Spain) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to bring MotoGP to India for a seven-year period, with the first race expected to take place as early as 2023.

‘motorsport.com’ stated that the announcement was made by Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta and Sporting Director Carlos Ezpeleta at a presser in New Delhi (India) on September 21st, along with key members of race promoter FairStreet Sports (India-based company).

Dorna Sports, S.L. is the commercial rights holder for the motorcycling sport of Grand Prix racing. Established in 1988 as an international sports management and marketing company, it is headquartered in Madrid, Spain, with branch offices and/or subsidiaries in Barcelona (Spain), Amsterdam (Netherlands), London (UK), and Rome (Italy).

Grand Prix motorcycle racing (MotoGP) is the premier class of motorcycle road racing events held on road circuits sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme.

‘motorsport.com’ further stated that the planned races will take place at the Buddh International Circuit on the outskirts of New Delhi, the same 5.125 km circuit that previously hosted three Formula 1 events between 2011-2013 before it was dropped from the schedule for financial, bureaucratic and taxation reasons.

The 110,000-capacity Buddh International Circuit is an Indian motor racing circuit situated in the National Capital Region (NCR) at Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. The track shares its name with Gautama Buddha (ascetic and spiritual teacher of ancient India), as does the district the track is located in. The track was officially inaugurated on October 18th, 2011. The 5.125 km (3.185 mi) long circuit was designed by German racetrack designer Hermann Tilke.

Formula One is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.

Talks are in advanced stages with the State Government of Uttar Pradesh as well as India’s Sports Ministry to finalize the deal, with a confirmation expected to follow shortly.

The aim is to hold the first edition of Grand Prix of Bharat – as the race will be called – next year, although 2024 is seen by some as the more realistic option. No provisional date has been fixed yet by Dorna.

Carlos Ezpeleta said it was a “no-brainer” for MotoGP to expand its reach to India, the world’s biggest market for two-wheelers and an important country for all five MotoGP manufacturers.

MotoGP has been spreading its wings in Asia for some time, with new races in Thailand and Indonesia proving to be a huge hit with the locals, and India is seen as the next stage of the series’ expansion in this region.

Should the deal go ahead, MotoGP will become the first major bike racing series to visit India since the Asia Road Racing Championship between 2016-2018. The first event was held at the Buddh International Circuit, before the series moved to the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai for the following two seasons.

It also means there could be two world championship events in India in coming years, following the confirmation that Hyderabad will host the third round of the 2022-2023 Formula E seasons in February.

The Madras International Circuit is a permanent motor racing circuit located in Irungattukottai, Chennai, India. It was built in the late 1980s and was inaugurated in 1990. It was the first permanent racing circuit in India and is owned by the Madras Motor Sports Club.

Commented Carlos Ezpeleta, Managing Director, Dorna Sports, “MotoGP continues to earn new audiences and fans worldwide. This makes it imperative for us to expand its presence to new destinations where fans and riders are growing every year. India is key to our scheme of taking MotoGP sport to new frontiers. Over the past decade, the MotoGP World Championship has gone from strength to strength, thanks to a competitive grid and a well-crafted set of rules. We look forward to gaining a wider fan base in India with the Grand Prix of Bharat.”

Added Pushkar Nath, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Fairstreet Sports, “Motorcycling as a sport is greatly admired in India. By bringing the world’s most prestigious motorcycle racing event here, we hope to boost its fan base further and encourage more young bikers to take up the sport. As the world collectively rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic, the sporting event is also expected to re-energize India’s sports tourism.”

Formula E, officially the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, is a single-seater motorsport championship for electric cars. The series was conceived in 2011 in Paris by FIA President Jean Todt and Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, who is also the current Chairman of Formula E Holdings.

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