Even as the top guns were busy burning the rubber during the free practice sessions at the Grand Prix of Japan, four young Indian riders — Rajiv Sethu, Mohamed Mikhail (both Chennai), Senthil Kumar (Coimbatore) and Kritik Vasant (Hubli) were watching it all in awe from the stands at the Motegi Twin Ring circuit here on Friday.
All the four have played their part for Honda Racing India in some way or the other at the international level. And, the team, in return, has provided them with an opportunity to have a feel of the world-class event off the track.
Rajiv, the most-experienced among the four, said it’s a great opportunity to watch the MotoGP live. “The main idea is to learn how world-class racing is and how these professional riders set up their bikes,” he said.
“I also want to understand the foreign culture and more about the racing community and it’s sure going to come in handy for me in the near future. In fact, it’s going to be a game-changer in my life,” he added.
Senthil is 18 and he has quite quickly convinced the team with his gutsy performances at various championships. “They are the fastest riders in the world and we can learn things such as their attitude, handling skills, body position, balancing art and many more,” said Senthil.
“It would have been great had we got the chance to talk to the riders but still this is something special for all of us watching them off the track,” he added.
Mikhail is only 15 and he has everything in him to be a real racer. “This is my first invitation to Japan and I am really excited as the others. It has always been my dream to watch MotoGP races. It’s not only about watching the bigger bikes in full flow but am going to keep my eyes on Moto3 in which the bikes are similar to the ones we race. It is just a bit more modified and powerful,” he said.
Kritik is 19 and is pleased that it’s going to be one big learning experience. “It’s a huge chance to learn by looking at them repeatedly, your body automatically works accordingly when on the track.”
Prabhu Nagaraj, vice-president, Brand & Communication, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., had this to say. “It is a highly motivational trip for them. They are fans of many of the Honda riders out here and have not had the chance to see them live. We have Team Asia in Moto2 and Moto3 that is part of the MotoGP and it is their dream to be part of it some day or the other. The feel of MotoGP will further trigger them to perform better,” he said.
“Honda Racing India’s main dream is to create an Indian icon in motorsport and that’s our long-term plan.”
Is it possible? “There are constraints and we are fighting against that and creating opportunities. Setting a timeline is going to be difficult but, definitely, we will have a rider in MotoGP some day.
(The writer is in Motegi on the invitation of Honda India Racing)