MotoGP: Distorted map of India broadcast live during practice, organisers apologise
Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India president Akbar Ebrahim who was sitting in the race control room when the error was brought to his notice said it was 'highly regrettable'.
NEW DELHI: The much-anticipated MotoGP in India commenced on Friday with the official practice sessions. With the famed two-wheeler competition making its debut in the country, it was supposed to spark excitement. Instead, it generated anger among Indian fans at the very beginning after the MotoGP displayed the country’s map without Jammu and Kashmir on their live feed.
The fans took to social media to voice their displeasure. The MotoGP was forced to post an apology for the faux pas soon after. “We’d like to apologise to our fans in India for the map shown earlier as part of the MotoGP broadcast. It is never our intent to make any statement other than that of support and appreciation for our host country,” MotoGP stated. “We’re excited to be able to enjoy the IndianOil Grand Prix of India with you and we’re with you and we’re loving our first taste of Buddh International Circuit,” it added.
This is the first time India is hosting a MotoGP event. The circuit, which is located in Greater Noida, hosted Formula One for three seasons until 2013 before it was scrapped. On the track, Marco Bezzecchi set the pace with the fastest time of one minute, 45.990 seconds in the day’s first official practice. The Ducati rider was 0.139 seconds ahead of eight-time world champ Marc Marquez of Honda. Reigning world champ Bagnaia was 15th, 1.060sec behind Bezzecchi.
In the second practice, it was Bezzecchi’s teammate, Luca Marini, who topped the timings. Jorge Martin of Pramac Ducati finished just 0.008 seconds behind.
Practice is scheduled for Friday in all classes -- Moto 2, Moto 3, and MotoGP.
The qualifying will be held on Saturday and the main races are scheduled for Sunday.
India are hosting a motorsport event of this magnitude for the first time since the 2013 Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix, which was dropped from the calendar due to financial, taxation and bureaucratic issues.
Dorna and Fairstreet have signed a seven-year MoU for the MotoGP race in India.
The success of the race is important for the organisers with India being the world's largest two-wheeler market.
The state government has thrown its weight behind the event which is critical for the long-term future of the race.
Earlier this month, the Uttar Pradesh government released a fund of Rs 8 crore to its department 'Invest UP' for the MotoGP after a proposal from Fairsreet Sports, according to an official statement of the local Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority.
(With inputs from PTI)