India will stage a MotoGP race for the first time from 2023, organisers said last Friday, in a bid to expand audiences to the country of 1.4 billion people.

The inaugural race is scheduled to take place at Buddh International Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, to the south of New Delhi.

The track has already played host to Formula One, staging three F1 grands prix between 2011 and 2013.

''We have a lot of fans in India and we're excited to be able to bring the sport to them,'' Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of MotoGP organizer and promoter Dorna, said in a statement.

''India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world.''

With its vast population and more than 200 million motorcycles, Indian authorities hope the event can bring a foreign investment boom.

Sports minister Anurag Thakur hailed the announcement as a historic day for his country's sport sector.

Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh chief minister, added : ''It's a matter of great pride for Uttar Pradesh to host such a global event.''

It comes days after Dorna announced that Kazakhstan will also feature on the MotoGP calendar next year.

Next year's schedule is yet to be publicly released  but each MotoGP will feature two races   -a sprint on Saturday and grand prix on Sunday.

Faced with a dip in attendances at certain European grand prix, MotoGP is looking to bounce back by expanding its global audience.

Earlier this month, Dorna signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia to soon host one of the rounds of the world championship, without specifying a date or circuit.

MotoGP action is under way at Thailand's Buriram circuit for the first time since 2019 following coronavirus disruptions.

French reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo leads the championship standings on 219 points with Italian Francesco Bagnaia trailing by 18 points. [AFP]


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