Buriram (Thailand): India is still considered to be at a very nascent stage in motor sports but Japanese two-wheeler giant Hondas plans of introducing the NSF-250 in the country will surely ensourage a lot of enthusiasts take up the sport.
While most Indian riders are used to mass-production machines, Honda riders will be able to taste the actual road machine -- NSF-250, the Moto3 machine, which will be imported from the 2019 season, Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President, Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI) said during an interaction on the sidelines of the final round of the Asian Road Racing Championship at the Chang International Circuit here.
Highlighting the roadmap for the next season, Nagaraj pointed out that the focus will be on "preparing a world class Indian racer".
While Honda riders like Rajiv Sethu, Anish Shetty and Sarath Kumar have become household names with their accolades in the domestic circuit, Nagaraj agreed that Indians are still taking babysteps among the giants at the Asian and global level.
"This has been a long but fruitful process, from actually working on rider safety to actual participation of our riders in top class international competitions. I can't say our riders have started ruling the track but the exposure they gain from such competitions is huge," Nagaraj told IANS here.
"When we started some riders wore jeans and were without any safety gear. We took it one step at a time before actually preparing our riders race-ready."
"The roadmap is very clear, not that we just select and send them to race but it also involves a 360 degree development program, that includes a three-day camp and off-road practice for better handling of the vehicles," he added.
He also laid down the importance of introducing the NSF-250 machines, which he felt will help our riders get accustomed to the international standard.
"In India till this season we have been using the modified mass-production machines, while the developement of riders of the other Asian countries happen on the NSF-250, which are race machines. We will introduce these machines next season," he revealed.
"The idea behing the Talent Hunt program is primarily to get those hidden talents from various parts of India on a common platform and help and nurture those talents for the big stage.
"We started it this year, and I am happy to see the progress of the riders. We hope to carry this to the next season and more until we find the potetial to compete in the Moto GP," signed off Nagaraj, a self-proclaimed motorsports enthusiast.
(Tridib Baparnash cfan be contacte1d at firstname.lastname@example.org)