MotoGP 2011 will have two teams from India..!!
If there was a manufacturer sponsored factory team from India which deserved to participate in MotoGP, it's TVS Racing
I have never bothered to follow MotoGP (the glamorous motorcycle racing championship) simply because so far I did not have a team to cheer for. Label me a jingoist but fact remains that unless India is participating, I just don’t get the motivation to follow that sport.
But that would soon change in the 2011 season of the MotoGP championship, because in 2011 there would be not one but two teams from India donning the Indian tricolor at the 125 cc class MotoGP championship..!!
The two teams would be "Mahindra" and "Ten 10 Racing".
Team Mahindra in 2011 MotoGP, 125 cc Class
In hindsight, it now becomes clear why Mahindra showed a 2 stroke, 125 cc bike at the New Delhi Auto Expo in 2010. Back then everyone (including me) thought that the bike was just an optimistic concept from Mahindra. But in reality it was probably a prototype of the 125 cc bike that Engines Engineering has developed for Mahindra to participate in the 125 cc class at MotoGP.
Mahindra 125 cc MotoGP bike at the 2010 AutoExpo
According to Times of India:
"It is expected that the team will be known as Mahindra and it will enter a team of two riders in the 2011 season. The bikes, the riders and the team management would be made up of specialists from within Mahindra & Mahindra and the team would be based at Engines Engineering facility in Italy."
Also now it becomes clear that venturing into MotoGP was just a matter of strategic intent for Mahindra. Mahindra owns Engines Engineering an Italian firm which has a rich experience in motorcycle research, design, and engineering and also a past in MotoGP..!! Engines engineering have been designing and developing motorcycles for the 125 cc MotoGP event for brands like Malaguti.
Malaguti 125 cc MotoGP bike by Engines Engineering
All Mahindra now needs to do is to put in the investment for participating in the premier event, which a big group like Mahindra can easily do with its deep pockets.
The Mahindra group it is a huge business conglomerate with businesses as varied as automobiles (4 wheelers/2 wheelers/commercial vehicles/tractors), IT (Mahindra British Telecom, Mahindra Satyam), real estate (Mahindra Lifespaces) to holidays and resorts just to name a few.
What does it means for the Mahindra Brand?
A MotoGP team named "Mahindra" will help take the already global Mahindra brand to a new level. And if the 125 cc MotoGP bike with the Mahindra logo starts making podium finishes, then the Sponsors will automatically start to trickle in.
Plus Mahindra would get a lot of opportunity to publicize its MotoGP exploits and sell its two wheelers in India. This can definitely be a differentiating factor for Mahindra 2 Wheelers. "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday" Did I hear?
What does it means for the customer buying a Mahindra 2 Wheeler?
Nothing much actually for the current range of products. But 2011 would be the last season when the two stroke 125 cc class would take place in MotoGP. From 2012, it will be replaced by 250 cc, 4 stroke, Single cylinder engines and be called "Moto 3". Post that, I hope that Mahindra would start manufacturing and selling bikes in India based on the experience gained from its MotoGP exploits.
While Mahindra’s MotoGP ambitions have made all the news on national publications so far, there is also a private racing team based in Banglore called Ten10 Racing which will participate in the same 125 cc MotoGP class.
According to the team’s website:
"Ten10 has partnered with WTR Team, a San Marino based 125CC/Moto 2 team and christened as "WTR-Ten10 Racing" for the next 3 years. They will have one Indian and one Italian rider in the team and their names will be announced shortly."
Mahindra has deep pockets to support its MotoGP ambitions but for a private team to make it to MotoGP is actually quite a feat. Respect for Ten10 Racing.
What does it means for the MotoGP as a motor sport in India?
Currently there is not much viewership and interest for Motorsport in India (at least to make the sponsors interested). But if a biker next door like me, who so far has been least interested in MotoGP can get excited at the prospect of cheering for Team Mahindra / Ten10 Racing in 2011 (at least in the 125 cc class); then it probably augurs quite well for the Sport in India.
My heart goes out to TVS Racing, which has a rich experience of racing in India for the last 25 years. If there was a manufacturer sponsored factory team from India which deserved to participate in MotoGP, it was TVS Racing.
Lets hope that "Mahindra" and "Ten10 Racing" are successful to catch the imagination of the "Cricket Crazy" Indian public so that companies like TVS and Bajaj also start to participate in MotoGP.
What are your thoughts on two Indian teams participating in MotoGP 2011? Are you excited or does participating in MotoGP makes no difference to you?
This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.