World champion Francesco Bagnaia praised his manager for a timely arrival at India's inaugural MotoGP event, avoiding the visa troubles that plagued other riders.
Bagnaia, also known as "Pecco," expressed his relief at not encountering any visa delays, stating, "Our logistics manager did an incredible job." The race at the Buddh International Circuit marked India's first MotoGP spectacle and was marred by visa issues faced by some MotoGP personnel and riders.
Italy's Bagnaia, riding for the factory Ducati team, and previous race winner Jorge Martin were among the top riders competing on the track on the outskirts of New Delhi, a venue that once hosted Formula One races. Bagnaia currently leads the championship, holding a 36-point advantage over Martin. Despite recovering from a harrowing crash at Catalunya and racing with painkillers in the previous event, Bagnaia's performance earned praise.
Honda rider Marc Marquez encountered visa trouble but arrived in Delhi on Thursday, downplaying the impact of his late arrival. Marquez, a six-time MotoGP world champion, emphasised that his plans and strategy remained unchanged. He sported a new helmet featuring Indian colours.
While observing the prevalence of bikes and scooters on Indian roads, Bagnaia expressed surprise that there were no Indian riders in MotoGP. He speculated that the debut of MotoGP in India might inspire local talent to aspire to the world championship.
Despite concerns about the track's safety, particularly regarding the proximity of walls to the asphalt, riders were eager to tackle the new challenge. Bagnaia found the track "interesting and different," while Martin appreciated its layout.
The MotoGP action commenced with practice sessions on Friday, followed by qualifying and a sprint race on Saturday, culminating in the main race on Sunday.