UP government steps in to rescue MotoGP race in India, Dorna says decision on race imminent

New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government has stepped in to rescue the MotoGP race in India, assuring the championship rights holders Dorna that all financial obligations will be met by the end of this week.

A leading motorsport magazine had reported earlier this month that India round on the calendar was set to be dropped due to the non-payment of partial dues to Dorna, a claim rejected outrightly by local race promoters Fairstreet Sports.

Uttar Pradesh government, which was the main race sponsor in the inaugural edition in 2023, has now become the event promoter alongside Fairstreet Sports and is keen to ensure that Grand Prix of India takes place in September as mentioned on the MotoGP website.

In an official email to Dorna, Invest UP — the investment arm of the state government — has promised to furnish all necessary approvals and fees disbursement plan by the end of this week. The government and Fairstreet Sports will share the burden of the race fees as per the tri-partite agreement with Dorna.

PTI has learnt that Dorna wanted all contractual obligations to be fulfilled by March but is ready to give a little more time to the local promoters considering the general elections in India.

“India is one of the things to look at. In these days it will be decided. We can’t take long; next week or the following week at most,” MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta said on the sidelines of the Catalan Grand Prix this weekend.

The existing contract covers the next six years and with UP government coming on board as a co-promoter, the event has received a huge shot in the arm.

When Formula 1 took place in Greater Noida from 2011 to 2013, the government at centre or the state level did not support the high-profile event financially.

Governments funding races in motorsport is not new. Majority of the Formula 1 races are funded by the host nation’s government.

The 2023 MotoGP round in India, won by Marco Bezzecchi, was the biggest motorsports event held in the country since the last Formula 1 race took place in 2013. Formula 1 could only last three years in India due to financial and taxation issues. PTI

BS ATK

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