MotoGP to make India debut in 2023 at circuit that staged F1 races

India will stage a MotoGP race for the first time in 2023 as top-tier international motorsport returns to the Buddh International Circuit.

It was confirmed on Friday that the venue in Uttar Pradesh that staged three Formula One races from 2011 to 2013 would host the world's fastest riders on two wheels at the Grand Prix of Bharat.

According to organisers, India is a country where there are over 200 million motorcycles on the roads, making it a prime location to stage world-class racing.

India's sports minister Anurag Thakur said: "It's a historical day for sporting industry and tribute to 75th year of India's celebration."

The race weekend is provisionally scheduled for September 22-24 2023.

Dorna, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP, said it was "very proud" to be taking the sport to India, describing the country as "a key market for the motorcycle industry" and "the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world" for motorsport.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Dorna chief sporting officer Carlos Ezpeleta described India as "one of our key targets that we have had for quite some time".

He said the experience of other championships in India had been "quite challenging", with F1 having notably pulled out after its brief dalliance with holding races in the country.

Ezpeleta added: "We're now excited that this opportunity has come and it's a huge market for the motorcycle industry, and also for MotoGP as a sport, as a property with a huge potential to grow the fan base of the sport over there, which is already strong."

Although Formula One did not stay long, Ezpeleta sees MotoGP as having greater potential for sustained success.

He said: "I think that on the championship side, MotoGP is something which is probably a better fit for the Indian market, in terms of how the bigger part of the population can relate to itself and see the motorbike as something which is aspirational to them."