Dhoni launches ‘Mahi’ racing team

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After joining the Supersport FIM World Championship (600 cc) mid-way through the 2012 season as MSD R-N Racing Team, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-team is now targeting a title finish in the upcoming season with new name and team.

Rechristened as Mahi Racing Team India, the team added extra ammunition to its artillery by signing three-time world champion Kenan Sofouglu and fourth-placed Fabien Foret while existing riders Dan Linfoot and Florian Marino being retained for the next season.

“We plan to open a riding school in India. We have taken a small step and in course of time I want to see an Indian driver on our bikes,” said Dhoni at the launch event here.

“Earlier in India, bikes were used for commuting only but in last ten years the engine capacity of bikes in the market have risen from 100cc to 220-250cc, so there is demand for speedy bikes. I was fascinated by the sport and it feels great to be associated with it. But in addition to speed we will also stress on safe driving and following the traffic rules,” he added.

The team created history by pulling off a podium finish after just five rounds last season. Sofouglu is expected to boost the team’s performance as the Turkish rider is the championship’s all-time leading race winner having won 17 races.

Racing for Kawasaki in 2012, he claimed his third championship after the Portugese Grand Prix. He previously won the championship for Ten Kate Honda in 2007 and 2010. He also raced in the world superbike championship for Ten Kate in 2008 but with limited success.

Frenchman Foret is a 2002 world champion and had 24 podium finishes including eleven wins by the end of 2008 season.

At a glittering launch event in Mumbai, the new look team, along with their superbikes, was unveiled by Dhoni. In the new season, Mahi Racing will also become the factory team of Kawasaki. During the winter season the riders will be testing the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. The team will make their India debut at the Buddh International circuit next year.

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