MotoGP: From Track to Trend: India’s motorsport culture and the promise it holds

This article is written by Eishin Chihana, Chairman, Yamaha Motor India Group
The realm of motorsport culture in India has witnessed an extraordinary surge in the last few years, captivating the hearts and minds of both – the youth and those young at heart. This cultural transformation has been particularly embraced by the passionate riders of the Gen-Z and millennial cohorts, who together comprise a significant 52% of the nation’s population and exude a strong penchant for exploring exciting experiences on the wheels. This demographic demonstrates a robust inclination toward premium and performance-oriented two-wheeled vehicles.
Remarkably, the market for performance-oriented motorcycles equipped with bigger displacement engines and modern technologies has exhibited extraordinary year-on-year growth in the recent past. What makes it more interesting is the anticipation that the premium segment would continue to outperform the entry-level. This preference extends beyond a mere fleeting trend; rather, it signifies a momentous transformation within the automotive landscape, indicative of a profound shift in consumer preferences.
The industry is already pacing up to the aspirational and performance-oriented needs of the passionate customers of today. And the paradigm shift in perspective underscores the enduring appeal of premium motorcycles in the market, showcasing their sustained popularity and strong demand. The community of motorcycle enthusiasts and devoted riders have also experienced remarkable expansion, a trend evident not just in metropolitan areas but also in tier-II and tier-III cities across India.
This surge in enthusiasm for exhilarating experiences has catalysed the development of various community-driven activities such as Yamaha track rides, fleet trips, overnight tours, weekend getaways, etc. Now, with the advent of MotoGP in India, the enthusiasm for high-performance motorcycles and racing culture in the country will hit new highs. This premier international racing event has consistently provided an avenue for showcasing the zenith of motorcycle racing prowess, captivating enthusiasts worldwide. It will help consumers become aware of the importance of global racing competitions like MotoGP which plays a vital role in introducing cutting-edge technologies and advanced features in motorcycle models today.
Historically, the two-wheelers have served a practical role in the country, primarily functioning as affordable and convenient modes of transport. The motorcycles were valued for their fuel efficiency, manoeuvrability in congested traffic, and cost-effectiveness. Not anymore and the surge in sales of models such as sports bikes, cruisers, and adventure bikes attest to this evolving preference.
Notably, the motorcycle brands have astutely discerned the changing preferences of today’s riders. Rather than limiting to producing functional bikes, these brands are assuming a new role beyond that of manufacturers; they are investing in the creation of premium models that embody style, power, and innovation resonating with the evolving aspirations of younger generations. The aesthetics of these bikes not only reflect the rider’s individuality but also become a source of admiration and inspiration, deeply connecting with their yearning for excitement and adventure.
Once grappling with subpar roads and inadequate infrastructure that didn’t align with the enthusiasm for riding, India has made significant strides. A well-connected network of roads now marks the nation’s progress, accompanied by substantial infrastructure improvements. Planning a motorcycle journey spanning from Kashmir to Kanyakumari can now be undertaken with confidence, a transformation that profoundly influences the industry’s evolution.
Not just that, the country stages three motor-racing tracks of international standards – the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Madras International Circuit, Chennai and Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore. Riders hailing from diverse corners of the country converge upon these circuits to experience the thrill of motorsports and racing, while the ardent ones take pro-classes and choose motorsports as their career. Activities such as Track Day and national-level competitions like One Make Race Championship among others are being organized and promoted by various two-wheeler brands. There are many national and international motorcycle racing academies that have been set up in the past decade. The governing bodies, automotive brands, sponsors, and enthusiasts, collectively are working towards cultivating and perpetuating a thriving motorsport culture across the expanse of the nation.
It’s accurate to state that motorcycles are transitioning from practical vehicles to symbols of aspiration. This shift has kindled enthusiasm for high-performance motorcycles and racing culture in the country. Motorcycles now symbolise passion, freedom, and an indomitable spirit in the transformative journey of today’s youth. The future of motorsport culture in India appears promising as the passion for premium bikes and pursuit of unique experiences continues to thrive. It’s essential to recognise that this cultural shift transcends individual riders; it’s about a collective united by the spirit of adventure, camaraderie, and a shared affection for motorcycles.
Motorcycles are becoming more than mere machines; they are evolving into extensions of our digital lives. The integration of artificial intelligence, electric powertrains, and smart features seamlessly blends with the exhilaration of the open road. In conclusion, the surge of motorsport culture is a profound cultural revolution, driven by the preferences of Gen Z and millennials, and the allure of premium bikes. With electrifying events like MotoGP along with ongoing domestic motorsports activities, this culture is evolving and becoming a vibrant and strong community of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not represent any of The Times Group or its employees.

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