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Motorsport Weekends - 2023 MotoGP of Bharat - Friday

The year was 1995 and during my school days, I rarely got any time away from my studies. Whenever I did, I used to tune in to a sports channel to check if there was anything of interest on TV. One day, I saw a motorbike race aired and a certain Mick Doohan led the field on a Repsol Honda bike. That was the moment I got hooked onto Motorsports. MotoGP was my first love & Mick Doohan was my first motorsports hero! Since then, I became a Repsol Honda fan and followed the team's exploits closely! Although I never had the opportunity to attend a MotoGP event, it was on my wishlist for many years.

The opportunity finally arrived when it was announced that MotoGP would hold its inaugural GP in India at the Buddh International Circuit from 22nd to 24th September 2023. Although preparations were in full swing to host a motorsport event after a decade at India's purpose-built track, there were major hiccups and hurdles along the way. Thankfully, after continued support from the government, the local authorities & the organizers, the race weekend was a go!

What was even more amazing was that I got the rare opportunity to be a guest of Repsol Honda for the entire weekend! 

My friend Yash Gosalia, who runs a nationwide sim-racing series called "The Hybrid Theory" was a co-guest at Honda with Prima Pramac Racing hosting another friend in Shamit Desai!

So, how was the experience at the inaugural Indian GP? The Friday experience begins here!

Enroute to the circuit, from New Delhi, but first, we had to pick up our race passes from the Collection centre :

Race Passes in hand, it was time to head to the track!

Welcome to the Buddh International Circuit :

Walking into the Paddock, so many memories come rushing back from a decade ago :

As we walked to the Honda Hospitality, I bumped into some riders from the current MotoGP grid!

Alex Marquez, Gresini Ducati Racing :

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team :

Augusto Fernandez, Gas Gas Factory Racing Tech3 :

Miguel Oliveira, Cryptodata RNF MotoGP :

Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Factory Racing Sports Director :

Jorge Martin, Prima Pramac Racing :

After settling ourselves inside the Hospitality, we decided to explore more areas of the Paddock.

Walking to the other end of the paddock & I got to see Sadhguru up close :

Meeting more people from the MotoGP fraternity continued!

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda :

Mr Julia Marquez, the Father of the Marquez brothers :

Soon enough, it was time to follow the action on track, with FP1 getting underway. We sneaked our way up into the VIP viewing area!

The views from the Hospitality Arena, just after the VIP Village :

Shots from FP1 :

The Repsol Honda riders getting used to setups during FP1 :

Practising grid starts at the end of FP1 :

Video Link :

Marco Bezzecchi was the quickest in FP1 from Marc Marquez & Brad Binder. Joan Mir was P10 in the other Repsol Honda.

Post FP1, it was time to enjoy some lunch in the Hospitality area :

Shots of the Area :

The on-track action resumed with Moto2.

Time for the Moto2 riders to find their optimal setups for the weekend :

Post the Moto2 practice session, we had a brief lull and our group decided to head back down to the Paddock and try and get more selfies and signatures!

Returning to the Paddock before MotoGP Practice kicks off :

The decision turned out to be the right one as we met a host of other riders!

Marc Marquez!! Repsol Honda Racing Team! Fan moment with the most successful ( current ) MotoGP rider!

Sam Lowes, Marc VDS Racing, Moto2 :

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Ducati Racing :

Somkiat Chantra, Honda Team Asia, Moto2 :

Lin Jarvis, Team Principal for Monster Energy Yamaha :

Fabio Quartararo, Monster Energy Yamaha Team & 2021 World Champion :

Marc Marquez' Crew Chief, Santi Hernandez :

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda :

Six-time World Champion & Aprilia ambassador, Max Biaggi :

Pol Espargaro, Gas Gas Factory Racing Tech3 :

Luca Marini, Mooney VR46 Racing Team :

Davide Tardozzi, Ducati Racing Team Manager :

We then headed back to the VIP Viewing area to get ready and prepped for MotoGP Practice. This session was most important since the lap times would decide which riders would qualify for Q2 and which would need to battle it out in Q1 on Saturday.

Enjoying some evening snacks before the start of the Practice :

The track looks stunning as dusk draws in :

Shots from the Practice :

The riders doing practice starts from the Grid :

Video Link :

Luca Marini was the quickest in Practice from Jorge Martin & Aleix Espargaro. Marc Marquez and Joan Mir were P4 & P10 for Honda respectively. Thankfully, both Repsol Honda riders automatically qualified for Q2 on Saturday!

Returning to the Paddock gave us the opportunity to meet more riders!

Aron Canet, Pons Racing, Moto2 :

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team :

Deniz Oncu, Red Bull KTM Ajo, Moto3 :

Daniel Holgado, Red Bull KTM Tech3, Moto3 :

Celestino Vietti, Fantic Racing, Moto2 :

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM MotoGP :

Tony Arbolino, Marc VDS Racing, Moto2 :

Marco Bezzecchi, Mooney VR46 Racing Team :

Ducati General Manager, Luigi Dall'lgna :

Albert Arenas, Red Bull KTM Ajo, Moto2 :

MotoGP World Champion Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Lenovo Team :

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team :

Lucio Cecchinello, Founder of LCR Honda Team. Had a great chat with this racing legend!

Night fell upon us and it was time to head back to New Delhi.

Goodbye from the Paddock! 

I also compiled a vlog on my YouTube Channel about my Friday Experience at the Inaugural MotoGP of Bharat!

Vlog Link :

It had been a memorable Day 1 at the Buddh International Circuit for us as we met a host of Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP riders and enjoyed watching some great action on the track. Sadly, my Sony RX10 IV malfunctioned which meant that I would have to survive the rest of the weekend without my camera. Nevertheless, I returned from the track with great stills and amazing memories!

Thank you to Repsol Honda Racing for having us over the weekend and thank you to everyone who made MotoGP of Bharat a reality! The Saturday experience follows shortly!