MotoGP has struck a Memorandum of Understanding for a first race in India that will see top-level motorsport return to the Buddh International Circuit.
A delegation from MotoGP’s commercial rights-holder, Dorna Sports, travelled to India to sign the MoU for a potential Indian Grand Prix with promoter Fairstreet Sports. The delegation travelled to Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the region in which the Buddh circuit is located, to meet with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath and Industrial Development Minister, Nand Gopal.
It is intended that an Indian GP will be held at Buddh International Circuit, which staged an annual round of the Formula 1 championship from 2011 to 2013 before the race agreement was cut short due to financial and bureaucratic difficulties.
Terms of the MoU were not disclosed, but Motorsport.com said it is a seven-year deal targeting a debut race as early as next year, although 2024 is believed to be more realistic. News of a potential Indian GP comes with MotoGP having already embedded itself in the Asian market with races currently on the calendar in Qatar, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.
Earlier this month, Dorna Sports signed an MoU with the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) with a view to staging an annual grand prix in Saudi Arabia.
Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, said: “India is a huge country and market, and an especially important one for the two-wheeled industry and MotoGP as a sport.
“The championship has a huge fan base there and being able to hold a MotoGP event in India would be both an incredible spectacle for our fans, while at the same time allowing us to continue to grow the sport in the region, which is hugely important for all our partners and the manufacturers in particular given the hundreds of millions of two-wheeled vehicles on its roads.
“At MotoGP we are committed to our fans and aim to make the sport accessible to all, regardless of where they are, who they are or their economic status. Motorcycles are an incredible tool for transportation and in many areas of the world they drive society, providing economic mobility and powering families around the world.
“Racing in India would be a reflection of our commitment to open the doors to the sport as widely as we can, and would be an important achievement for the championship.”
India’s Sports Minister, Shri Anurag Thakur, added: “It’s a historical day for the sporting and automobile industry and a befitting tribute to the Azadai Ka Amrit Maha Utsav celebrations, marking India’s befitting arrival in the global platform of motorsport. India could potentially be one of MotoGP’s biggest markets, in terms of viewership as well as revenue.”