A file picture showing a MotoGP race. EFE/ José Manuel Vidal

First-ever MotoGP in India excites fans amid visa troubles for riders

By David Asta Alares

New Delhi, Sep 21 (EFE).- The Buddh International Circuit outside the Indian capital is all set to host the first ever Indian motorcycle Grand Prix, with the riders set to practice for the first time on Friday.

The main event is slated for Sunday, which has triggered massive excitement among followers of the sport in India even as the competition has been facing last minute visa-hurdles for participants.

Aditya A Kar, a young Formula 1 fan who lives on the periphery of Delhi, is one of the new followers of the sport.

Kar and many like him have been trying to bring themselves up to date about the world of MotoGP, and have bought tickets for Sunday’s race, to be held at a circuit situated around 40 kilometers away from New Delhi.

“Since they announced that the Indian GP was official, I started following and getting to know the rules and regulations and the power drivers who participate,” Kar told EFE.

MotoGP’s expansion to India, where motorcycles are the key mode of transport, is part of a strategy to make inroads in south and southeast Asia. Thailand was included in the MotoGP calendar in 2018, while Indonesia is also set to host its first race this season.

“I think it is a great time for Indian motorsport, so some of my friends – who are big motorsports enthusiasts – are traveling almost 1,500 kilometers on their bike and traveling all the way to Delhi for this MotoGP,” Kar revealed.

The race marks the return of top-tier motorsport to India, which had hosted Formula1 races between 2011 and 2013 before a series of financial disputes put an end to the event.

With tickets priced between 800 rupees (around $10) and over 180,000 rupees for the most exclusive seats, the organizers are hoping to fill the stands despite last-minute problems related to visas.

“Flight delayed due to lack of visa for IndiaGP. So we are going to cycle for a while,” Spanish rider Marc Marquez, who races for the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) team, said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

Indian racing promoter Fairstreet Sports, which has partnered with Dorna in India to organize the grand prix at the Buddh International Circuit, attributed the delay to a “technical glitch.”

“It’s an unforeseen technical glitch (…). We’re happy to announce that most of the visas have already been processed, with many more on the horizon. Our teams are tirelessly working around the clock to ensure that every participant, from riders to technical officials, receives their visa promptly,” Fairstreet said in a statement Wednesday. EFE