Indian to race in MotoGP feeder series during Grand Prix of Bharat

By, New Delhi
Mar 30, 2023 09:25 PM IST

The rider will be the recipient of a wild card and will race in a non-competing category.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, there will be an Indian rider taking part during the maiden Indian race weekend of MotoGP, scheduled to be held at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida from September 22 to 24.

A still from the Portugal Motorcycle Grand Prix, at the Algarve International circuit near Portimao, Portugal, Sunday, March 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)(AP) PREMIUM
A still from the Portugal Motorcycle Grand Prix, at the Algarve International circuit near Portimao, Portugal, Sunday, March 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)(AP)

The rider will be a wildcard entry who will take part in either Moto2 or Moto3 which are junior or feeder series for the premier class i.e., MotoGP. The rider will race in a non-competing category, meaning he will not earn any points or have any impact on the championship.

“This has never happened before. It is happening only for the Indian race. We have already selected a few riders who are already under training abroad," said Pushkar Nath Srivastava, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Fairstreet Sports – the promoter of the Indian motorcycle Grand Prix.

“We will also be doing city tours to identity such people from next month. We have sent some riders but we are also going to build talent, not in the MotoGP category but for sure in Moto2 or Moto3. That is how you graduate.”

Though Srivastava refused to disclose the names of the Indian riders, it has been reliably learnt that as of now there are three, one each in Spain, the Netherlands and Indonesia, who have been training for the last two months.

The idea is to have an Indian connect during the Indian Grand Prix – a series that has never had an Indian racer before. It is also to promote the MotoGP race in India which has a seven-year contract with Dorna Sports, the international organiser and commercial rights holder of MotoGP, starting this year.

But what if the rider has an impact in the championship? Has Dorna agreed with the move? “Dorna has welcomed the decision. It is very good for the Indian GP. They have given us the go-ahead. A discussion on the details is yet to happen and the modalities are being worked out. But just imagine an Indian rider wearing an India jersey taking a lap of the circuit,” Srivastava said.

New Indian team

The Indian wildcard is only for the 2023 edition of the Indian Grand Prix as Fairstreet Sports is setting up its own team to race in one of the feeder series next year onwards.

“This year we decided to just focus on making the 2023 race successful. Once the race is over, we will launch our team. In January 2024, we will start getting the team on the track because getting a slot on the grid is also going to be difficult. You don’t get a grid slot that easily,” said Srivastava.

If Fairstreet are successful in setting up a team – which is likely going to be for Moto3 – it will be the second Indian team in the world’s oldest established motorsport world championship after Mahindra Racing. Mahindra raced in Moto3 as a team from 2011 to 2015 before turning into a motorbike supplier from 2016 to 2017. They withdrew from the championship in 2018 to completely focus on Formula E racing.

“As a promoter of the Indian round, we have the flexibility and concrete plans to put an Indian team on the grid,” added Srivastava.

The Indian Grand Prix on September 24 will be the 14th round of the 21-race season – the longest yet in MotoGP. Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia currently leads the championship having won both the sprint and main race of the opening GP of the season in Portugal last Sunday. The Argentine GP will take place this weekend in Termas.

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    From badminton to cricket, Sandip Sikdar writes on many sporting disciplines. He has the experience of working in digital, news agency as well as print organisations. Motorsport remains his first love.

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