MotoGP looks to tap new fan base | The Express Tribune

MotoGP looks to tap new fan base | The Express Tribune
  • PublishedSeptember 20, 2023



India hosts its maiden MotoGP on Sunday as the premier motorcycling championship looks to tap a potentially lucrative new fan base and succeed on a track where Formula One stalled.

Two-wheelers are India’s most popular means of petrol-powered transport with more than half of all households owning at least one motorbike or scooter, compared to just eight percent with cars.

Sales figures show an increasing appetite for high-end, high-octane motorbikes, and organisers are banking on the trend to fuel interest in the sport in the world’s most populous country.

“We have more than a million bikes in the 250cc-plus category selling every year in India, which means more than a million people are buying bikes for more than just transportation,” Vaibhav Sinha, chief executive of Indian MotoGP promoters Fairstreet Sports, told AFP.

“They are using it for thrills, adventure, sports and leisure riding,” he added.

“We intend to tap this potential to make biking a very big sport in our country.”

But the lead-up to the race has seen concerns raised about the safety of the Buddh International Circuit, with particular fears about walls that are too close to the asphalt.

“In India all the riders together are going to walk the track before we get on the bike to understand the situation,” Spanish rider Aleix Espargaro was reported as saying.

Some MotoGP personnel and riders also had problems getting visas for India, but organisers on Tuesday blamed a technical glitch and said it was on the way to being resolved.

Fairstreet Sports signed a seven-year deal with MotoGP’s commercial rights holder Dorna Sports to hold a race in India, which has the world’s fifth-biggest economy.

India is a critical market for the growth of MotoGP, Dorna’s chief sporting officer Carlos Ezpeleta said.

“For us breaking into India, which is a whole continent in itself, is very important,” he told Sportstar magazine.


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