MotoGP’s first Indian GP hit by visa chaos as some teams and riders unable to fly
This weekend is supposed to mark the inaugural MotoGP round in India at the former Formula 1 venue Buddh International Circuit.
The event has already faced numerous bouts of uncertainty, as requested track works were only recently finished, and the homologation process has yet to be finalised.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro told Motorsport.com recently that the riders are standing united on the subject of track safety and are due to inspect it themselves on Thursday, before voting on whether to race or not.
Most of the paddock was meant to fly to India today (Tuesday 19 September), but many have been turned away from flights having not received the necessary visa.
The factory Honda squad and both its riders, including eight-time world champion Marquez, are among this list.
Marquez posted on his social media: “Flight delayed due to lack of visa for India, so we’re going to pedal for a little while,” referring to a picture of himself on his mountain bike.
He now hopes to be able to board a flight to India on Wednesday, assuming his visa arrives.
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Some teams, such as Ducati and Aprilia, have been able to travel, while several others have not.
Although confusion has taken over the scene, those affected point the finger at the various agencies in charge of making the relevant arrangements, both European and Indian.
Honda has been forced to cancel a factory visit with its riders in India scheduled for Wednesday, while numerous members of the media and photographers have missed flights due to not getting their visas on time.
The International Road-Race Teams’ Association (IRTA) has promised to reimburse outfits who have had to pay to have their flights changed.
At this stage, it is hoped everyone will be able to land in Delhi by Thursday at the absolute latest to allow the event to run as scheduled.
However, the proposal to curtail Friday’s running either partially or fully is on the table depending on how the visa situation unfolds.
This was a measure put into place last year at the Argentina Grand Prix when technical issues with cargo planes meant freight arrived to Termas de Rio Hondo late. Friday’s running was cancelled as a result of this.
An update from the Indian GP organisers is expected soon.