MotoGP commits long-term plan to India, first race likely in 2023 | Racing News

NEW DELHI: In a huge boost for motorsport in the country, MotoGP organizers announced on Wednesday that the biggest two-wheeled racing event could take place in India as early as next year.
A memorandum of understanding, which promises seven races in as many years, has been announced, but MotoGP organizers Dorna Sports and Indian promoters Faristreet Sports have not set a date for the first race, which is called the “Bharat Grand Prix”.
If 2023 doesn’t work out, both sides aim to hold a test event the same year before the inaugural round in 2024.
Dorna will announce the 2023 schedule soon.
The MoU was announced in the presence of Dorna Sports Managing Director Carlos Ezpeleta and the Indian promoter Fair Sports (FSS) COO Pushkar Nath and director Amit Sandill.
The round, when it takes place, will also include races in the junior category – Moto2 and Moto3.
PTI had reported last week that a race was scheduled for the winter of 2023.
The venue for the race will be the state-of-the-art Buddh International Circuit, which hosts the defunct Indian Grand Prix.
Once stakeholders decide on the dates, the race track will be homologated by world governing body FIM, which is seen as a formality as the track has already hosted an event of Formula 1 stature.
Formula 1 left after three seasons due to financial, tax and bureaucratic hurdles, but Ezpeleta said he was surprised India, the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, has yet to host MotoGP.
“Honestly, from Dorna’s side, it’s surprising that the call hasn’t been made before. MotoGP is a product for India and India is a country for MotoGP. The match is good,” Ezpeleta said.
“We hadn’t been approached for MotoGP in previous years but with the support of the Indian promoters, all the parts boxes were checked.
“All the major manufacturers that are part of MotoGP have shown a lot of interest in coming to India,” he added.
Although the official statement clearly mentions that the race will take place in 2023, Ezpeleta said that putting together all the pieces to organize a race of this scale is always a complicated matter.
Around 5,000 people, including riders and staff, work at a MotoGP round. Ezpeleta claimed that a MotoGP weekend generates an economic activity of 100 million euros.
“The MoU is for seven years and can start as early as next year. Organizing a MotoGP round is a huge job. A pre-season test of machines and tires must be tested on site.
“We publish our season calendar before. We are working on the dates to find out if we can make 2023 possible or if there will be a test for the first event in 2024. It is complicated to organize, many pieces will have to be put in place.” said Dorna Sports MD.
Formula 1 could not have a long future in India due to financial, fiscal and bureaucratic problems. The event was taxed because the government at the time did not recognize it as a sport. Clearing tons of equipment was also a problem.
Fairstreet Sports chief operating officer Nath said two-wheel racing is now recognized as a sport by the government and getting one-stop clearance won’t be a problem.
The Indian developers claim to have support from the state and central government.
Nath and Co. had a meeting with UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur ahead of the announcement.
As this is a large scale event, there will be financial and operational challenges. The MotoGP organizers expect the FSS to overcome them.
The FSS will pay Dorna millions of euros a year to host the race.
“I don’t know the logistical challenges you faced here. It’s surprising that other countries were able to host MotoGP and a continent like India didn’t. It was surprising to me. For us it was a no-brainer to have a race in India,” said Ezpeleta.
When asked if they expected any financial support from the government to ensure the event’s long future, promoter Nath added: “We are self-sufficient in hosting the event. The government has been very supportive .”

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