After F1, MotoGP coming to Greater Noida?
“Yes, we are in touch with Dorna. The racing track we are building is designed to host both F1 and MotoGP,” said Manu Bhaskar Gaur, executive general manager of Jaypee Sports International. He added that while the F1 race is slated for October next year, the company hopes to get MotoGP on the tracks by 2012.
In another first, an Indian rider is set to enter the 125cc class of MotoGP. It was announced on Tuesday that Ten10 Racing, a Bangalore team, has tied up with San Marino-based WTR Team for a provisional entry in the 125cc class. To be called WTR-Ten10 Racing Team, it will field an Indian and an Italian. Automaker Mahindra too is launching a team for the 125cc races.
MotoGP is likely to come to India in 2012. Its entry would come as good news for the increasing number of racing enthusiasts in India. While racing is still at its infancy in the country, it commands eyeballs at the premium and vastly influential end of the market – the urban youth. A fan base of affluent youngsters makes companies confident about the success of the sport in India as well as its ability to attract big-ticket corporate endorsements.
While there are no confirmed figures, the cumulative viewership reach of F1 is estimated at about 30 million (for all races in one year) while that of a premium cricketing property like IPL is 150 million. MotoGP may not command the same numbers as F1, but is surely picking up fast, said industry sources.
Homegrown Mahindra group has already said it will be driving into the MotoGP space and is targeting the 125cc class of the sport for its very own team. This would make it the first Indian corporate to enter the big league of motorcycle road racing. ”This is part of our global branding strategy. MotoGP gives us access to a global platform wherein we can showcase our design, technology, engineering and IT capabilities,” said Mahindra group vice-chairman Anand Mahindra.
Mahindra said competing with the best in the world would pose enough challenge for the company to hone its own technical capabilities to the maximum. ”The construction of the racetrack in Noida gives us hope that MotoGP will come to India.”
Other global biggies like Yamaha and Honda, already hot in the MotoGP circuit, are enthused about the entry of the premier championship to India. ”It is good news for racing enthusiasts. Yamaha is already known for motor racing globally and if there is an Indian edition of it, we would ensure that our bikes race on the track,” said Pankaj Dubey, national business head at India Yamaha Motor. Yamaha created quite a stir in sporting circles when it managed to get MotoGP big daddy Valentino Rossi to the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year.
Honda is also trying to promote racing in India and already conducts racing activities at a track in Chennai. ”The entry of MotoGP should further enhance the fun-biking culture in India,” said N K Rattan, marketing and sales head at Honda’s Indian two-wheeler subsidiary HMSI. Companies like Ducati are also expanding into the Indian market and hope that the entry of events like MotoGP will further boost their chances here. ”We see a lot of potential in India,” Ducati’s APAC CEO Mirko Bordiga had said.