Honda’s President and CEO Minoru Kato has said that Motorsport is catching on in the country and it has the potential to become a global force in the future with the company’s help. He also said that the company is looking to groom some cult heroes before they invest in any facilities in India.
Despite having only two circuits that are officially recognized by motorcycle racing’s governing body, Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), Minoru Kato is optimistic about the future of the thrilling sport in India. Since Kato took over Honda India on April 1, 2017, the talent hunts have unearthed future stars such as 15-year-old Mohammad Mikhail and 19-year-old Kritik Habib who recently finished ninth in a race in Thailand. Rajiv Sethu and Senthil Kumar are the other racers that have been successful in his reign.
“So far we have been successfully conducting talent hunt activities in many Indian cities. In the last 2-3 years, we have been trying to find out a young rider who has the potential. Then, of course, we have some big intentions to develop Indian riders to join not only ARRC, but also the next level in the near future. That's our target," Kato told IANS.
However, even then Honda is not ready to invest in new such structures in the country, at least for the moment, considering the sport is not that watched by its citizens who prefer cricket and football mostly. Yet, the numbers are slowly increasing and the company may be enticed to carry out development activities with further progress in the future.
"Honda doesn't have any plan to establish a new facility or infrastructure in India at the moment. But in the near future, depending on the acceleration of motorsport culture in India, and interest from other parties...they may join and step by step, we could take it forward," said Kato.
In a country having 1.3 billion people, a number that is ever increasing, a fraction of the people are bound to love the sport and it does not take long for a trend to catch on. Kato banks on the fact as he sees immense potential in the subcontinent country.
“We are looking at a big motorcycle market. Currently, I think it is increasing. For example, there was no such big market in Thailand 20 years back. Same goes for Indonesia. In India, more premium bike segments will grow within 10 years. There's big potential," he concluded.