MotoGP India: how the GP went for spectators, riders, organizers

The fears of the day before, including bureaucratic problems, safety problems on the track (snakes near the walls included) have dissolved: the Indian weekend was a success with the public and opened up new perspectives for the protagonists and operators of the sector

Massimo Falcioni

– new delhi (india)

Good first at the Buddh International Circuit. The MotoGP World Championship is coming off well from its red-hot debut on 22-24 September 2023 in India even if there were problems on the eve due to the “Kafkaesque bureaucracy” which had already discouraged F1 and WSBK in the past and also to the safety of the circuit, with run-off zones to be reviewed and gravel beds to be widened, with concrete walls close to the track, to be eliminated. Even up until the day before, there were doubts about the possibility of taking part in the Indian GP due to the storms and also due to unprecedented problems such as the presence of snakes and other dangerous animals close to the circuit areas. A flop was feared by the public but instead it responded well: 111,762 tickets sold over the weekend: 58,605 on Sunday, 35,381 on Saturday, 17,776 on Friday.

the comparison

To make a comparison with more traditional events, the Italian GP of 9-10-11 June 2023 hosted 135,670 spectators and the Red Bull GP of Misano of 7-8-9 last September reached the record of 141,056 tickets sold . Of course, Italy has just under 59 million inhabitants while India (the fifth largest economy in the world with 3.46 trillion dollars) has 1 billion and 100 million people, 1,350,000,000 inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent, but they are different stories, even in motorcycling. It can be said that the good public presence in the stands of the Buddh International Circuit reflects the motorcycling culture rooted in India, the largest two-wheel market in the world, with an average of over 20 million new vehicles sold every year and over 25 million products. Institutions and companies are now committed to electric but it is not taking off on the market, still below 1%. Well-known brands like Royal Enfield, BSA, Norton, have been reborn and growing by becoming Indian-owned, in addition to the partnership relationship between Triumph and KTM with the Indian company Bajaj.

Italian companies involved

There are quite a few Italian companies in the sector. In addition to Piaggio (in the first three months of 2023 record commercial vehicle turnover grew by 54% and volumes increased by 36.1%), Brembo is present with the ByBre brand which produces braking systems for over 50% of the motorcycles produced in India . Motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are the most used means of transport: over 75 percent of motor vehicles are two-wheeled. The over 110 thousand paying people in the stands of the Buddh International Circuit (entire families, many women, many young people and children) are not “Martians”: they are the iceberg of a mass of enthusiasts who after this first round on 22-23-24 September 2023 cannot help but extend, also given the media interest in the Grand Prix. In short, this first world championship race in India opens up new opportunities for sponsorship, merchandising and television rights. In recent years there has been a strong growth in young aspiring Indian riders: even the national champion Kadai Yaseen Ahmed was granted a Wild card for Buddh’s Moto3 even though the 26-year-old Indian rider appeared “immature” to say the least.


Tens and tens of millions of viewers from all over the world followed the weekend of races held on the Indian circuit, highlighting India’s ability to overcome organizational and hospitality problems, raising its profile as a hub for motorsport enthusiasts and for tourists. Of course, the limitations of the “first time” were not lacking. It’s just the beginning, with India promoted to the MotoGP circuit. The logic desired by the promoter Dorna for business needs is that of globalized motorcycling, particularly oriented towards the Asian continent. After the entry into the calendar of the Far East world championship rounds of Japan (debut in Suzuka in 1963) and Malaysia (since 1991) and after the more recent GPs of Thailand (introduced in 2018) and Indonesia (resumed in 2022 over twenty ‘years after the first two editions of 1996 and 1997) it was, therefore, India’s turn to pass the debut test. A stimulus also for the other MotoGP organizers around the world, including Italy.