In a visit to the Buddh International Circuit last week, 1993 500cc champion Kevin Schwantz said that India is ready to host a MotoGP race.
With no international event having been held at BIC since the 2013 Indian Grand Prix, the organisers are trying hard to bring back not only Formula 1 but also MotoGP to India.
A glimmer of hope was raised when Schwantz visited the circuit as a guest of Suzuki India, where he stated that the sub-continent is ready to host the two-wheeler event.
“I think India is ready, as long as the venue is good and safe,” he said while attending the Suzuki Gixxer Cup at BIC.
“We need more tracks to race at. We have four Grands Prix in Spain. We need to branch out a little bit.
“I think India is a market which is very important to the motorcycle community and we need to do all we can to try help push in here.”
Currently, the only international event which India is slated to host is a World Superbike round in 2017.
India better placed than America
Despite America being able to boast NASCAR and IndyCar, along with hosting Formula 1 and MotoGP races at Austin, Schwantz feels India is in a better position than the US to host a MotoGP round.
“I would say you guys are better off here. As you have championships, both cars and bikes, going on here,” the 51-year-old American said.
“The American championship for bikes is in doldrums since the slowdown of 2008. No manufacturer is ready to come back to the sport,” he added.
The American compared the problems faced by both countries - while cricket is popular in India, football, basketball and baseball rule in America – adding that both the US and India needed “big ticket” events to grab eyeballs.
India has talent
With no Indian ever making it to the top level of bike racing, Schwantz had no doubts about talent in India. “We are bound to have world champions running around right here."
"We just find them early enough and get them on that path headed them right way,” he said.