Many sports lovers have been whining over the domination of cricket over other disciplines in the country for quite a while now. But the fact that the skipper of the Indian national team is going out of his way to promote motorsport is surely a sign of brighter days for the lesser known/followed sports.
Earlier in June, Captain Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni launched a racing team that participated in the Supersport FIM World Championship in the 600cc category and yesterday the team got a massive facelift with an aim to get Indian eyeballs hooked to the sport.
Apart from changing the name from MSD R-N Racing Team India to Mahi Racing Team India and unveiling the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R bikes for the upcoming season, Dhoni also announced the signing of two world champions — Kenan Sofouglu of Turkey and Fabien Foret of France. The duo join French youngster Florian Marino and British ace Dan Linfoot, who achieved a remarkable podium finish at the final race in France.
Dhoni looked relaxed as usual, despite the first Test against England looming large, as he spoke of his love for bikes. “I had this passion for bikes from the very start and this racing team is like a dream come true for me. I’ve never wanted to do anything like this, but the opportunity came up and I thought of bringing motorsport to India. Personally, I thought it was a good prospect. We were in Australia at the time this project came up and I thought it was a good thing to be associated with. In the last two years Formula One has picked up in India, but motorbike racing is still behind,” Dhoni told reporters yesterday.
Dhoni is confident motorbike racing will pick up in India with the Superbike Championship adding a race at the Buddh Interational Circuit in the capital to it’s schedule. “India is among the biggest two wheeler selling markets in the world. Also, in the last 10 years, the capacity of the engines of bikes in India has gone up remarkably. From 100cc bikes, big players in the Indian market are now venturing into 220cc, 250cc markets.”
Dhoni is also keen on starting a riding school to help groom Indian riders.
“We want to open a riding school in India and in the coming years I would like to see one of the Indian riders doing really well on our bikes. But of course, we want to take small steps and open a riding school. It gives youngsters an opportunity to show their skills,” he said.