(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP
Paris: The new MotoGP season gets underway this weekend in Portugal with Carmelo Ezpeleta, the boss of Dorna, the sport's promoter, relishing the prospect of debut races in India and Kazakhstan.
The addition of the two races, taking the season calendar to 21 races, is intended to broaden the sport's appeal from its traditional powerbase -- 19 of the 22 riders come from Europe -- and open up new markets.
The Kazakhstan race takes place at the Sokol International Racetrack near Almaty on July 9 while the Buddh International Circuit hosts India's first MotoGP on September 24.
“We are a world championship and while Europe is lucky enough to have most of the riders come from there, that doesn't mean we should only race there,” said Ezpeleta.
“The place where the motorcycle industry is developing the most is Asia.
“We should be able to have the majority of the Grands Prix in Europe but there is no doubt that for a motorcycle world championship, as well as for the manufacturers, it is important to go to a continent where the stands are full and the TV ratings are very high.”
The two new races mean 10 of this year's 21 will take place outside Europe but Ezpeleta said there may be room for more non-European races as they aim for a 22-race season in future.
“We do not know yet if there will be 22 but it is possible that there will be fewer in the Iberian Peninsula and more in other countries,” he said.
“I would especially like to see more nationalities represented among the riders.”
Ezpeleta also maintained that MotoGP wants to“reduce our carbon footprint”, something they have started by“trying to group several far away races together so that we don't have to make long trips for one GP”.
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