The debut of the MotoGP in India was struck by a massive controversy that erupted when a distorted map of the country with Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh missing from it was broadcast live during the opening practice session of the premier two wheel racing event in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida on Friday (September 22).
Within hours of the matter surfacing on social media as the users flagged the issue, MotoGP posted an apology for the gaffe on its official social media handle on X, formerly Twitter.
"We'd like to apologise to our fans in India for the map shown earlier a part of the MotoGP broadcast. It is never our intent to make any statement other than that of support and appreciation for our host country," MotoGP stated.
"We're excited to be able to enjoy the IndianOil Grand Prix of India with you and we're with you and we're loving our first taste of Buddh International Circuit," it added.
FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India) president Akbar Ebrahim was present at the race control room of BIC when the error was brought to his notice.
"It is highly regrettable that an erroneous map of India was broadcast by MotoGP TV today during the telecast of Grand Prix of India. We are aware that MotoGP have issued a public apology. The FMSCI advises its motorsports affiliates to be extremely careful and correct on the depiction of the India Map and Indian Tricolor," Ebrahim said.
Practice for the event is scheduled for Friday in all classes - Moto 2, Moto 3, and MotoGP, while the qualifying will be held on Saturday and the main races are scheduled for Sunday.
A motorsport event of this magnitude is being held by India for the first time since 2013 Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix which was dropped from the calendar due to financial, taxation and bureaucratic issues.
Dorna and Fairstreet have signed a seven-year MoU for the MotoGP race in India.
The success of the race is being considered important for the organisers given that India is the world’s largest two-wheeler market.
The Yogi Adityanath-led state government has also thrown its weight behind the event.
Earlier this month, the Uttar Pradesh government released a fund of Rs 8 crore to its department 'Invest UP' for the MotoGP after a proposal from Fairsreet Sports, according to an official statement of the local Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority.
(With PTI inputs)