The MotoGP championship scenario at the end of the Australian Grand Prix at Philip Island. Against all odds, defending champion Jorge Lorenzo trailed Honda’s Marc Marquez by just 18 points after the 20-year-old Spaniard was disqualified for staying out one lap more than allowed before a mandatory pit stop (a one-off, emergency situation due to Bridgestone’s doubts over their rear slick tyres). It was hard to believe that Marquez had come in with a clear edge over Lorenzo and Yamaha and was being tipped to seal the title at the popular venue. But then, that’s how quickly things can change in motorsport. To Lorenzo’s credit, his near machine-like riding has kept him consistently within reach of Marquez in the title hunt. Suddenly those three wins since the Silverstone round as compared to Marquez’s one are looking all the more crucial to the polarizing Lorenzo’s chances of defending his title. Lorenzo’s, at times, icy relationship with perennial fan favourite Valentino Rossi has not done his reputation among fans any good either. The changing status quo was made a little easier to handle among Indian MotoGP fans, however, as Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Olivera took the squad’s first ever Moto3 podium at Sepang.
The podium was Olivera’s seventh top five finish of the season and saw him cement his sixth place in the riders’ standings. It was an indication of Mahindra needing to secure his services for coming seasons in the interest of continuity and further development of their bike into a possible winner.
Of course, back when Sarath Kumar signed on to Mahindra Racing’s Italian championship campaign and started to score podiums, it was hoped that the Chennai rider would add a little more Indian flavor to the squad’s steady progression through the ranks.
But maybe this is not the time to re-open that scab. Perhaps Indian racing fans should just be satisfied that an Indian automotive major has seen it fit to invest enough in a top-of-the-line championship.
Especially when you consider that it won’t be till 2015, at least, that India will not host a major racing championship.
With F1 taking what has been described as a ‘stop-gap’ year in 2014 and World Superbikes giving India a miss this year too, there will be little else at the premier levels of global motor sport for Indians to cheer for.
Unless of course, the stars align and a MotoGP round is brought to the outskirts of Greater Noida sometime soon.