Kadai Yasen Ahamed, only Indian rider at MotoGP Bharat, is hoping to make a mark – Times of India

NEW DELHI: There will be Italians, Spaniards, French and riders from several other nationalities showcasing their skills at the inaugural MotoGP Bharat a.k.a. Grand Prix of India.
An Indian name in the list of riders was missing till a fortnight back. Quite the irony! The situation turned a week back when Chennai-based rider Kadai Yaseen Ahamed was given a surprise wildcard for the Petronas MIE Racing team in the Moto3 class.
Ahamed, a soft-spoken, reserved man, was left speechless after receiving the “call of his life”. “It will be a dream come true for me to race in front of my home crowd at the Buddh International Circuit,” Ahamed told TOI in an exclusive interaction. The 26-year-old has the credentials to compete at the Moto3 level.
In 2020, he was crowned the national champion in the ProStock 400. He also gave a good account of himself in other prestigious championships such as Thailand Superbike 400 series and the Asia Cup Japan.
In 2023, Ahamed participated in the Asia Road Racing Championship for TVS Racing. The journey for Ahamed started more than a decade back when he was a 13-year-old and used to race on the road. Former national motorcycle racing champion Jagan Kumar spotted Ahamed and took him to a professional race track in Chennai.
“He (Jagan) started training me, and as a 15-year-old I started participating in races,” Ahamed said.
“I got a podium finish in my first year itself. A year later, TVS Racing got me in their team for the national championship. I won my first national title at the age of 17,” he added.
Ahamed’s initial training ground was the Madras International Circuit. Later, he went to practice at the Marina Kart Arena, also in Chennai. “After my first national title, there was no looking back and I won several national titles in the following years. I also got multiple podium finishes in Asian-level championships,” Ahamed said.
In 2022, Ahamed was the runner-up at the prestigious Tehran Superbike Championship. “Participating at the Indian GP is just the beginning. Now, I will try and get podium finishes in Moto3 class,” he said. Ahamed comes from a middleclass family. He has been raised by a single mother and grew up at his maternal grandfather’s house in a joint family set-up. His mother Faridha did small-time tailoring and craft work to sustain the family and support Ahamed’s racing dreams.
“Initially, she used to think that racing was dangerous. But when I got on the podium for the first time, she allowed me to race. Jagan sir came to my mother and made her understand that this was professional racing. I also earned some money by winning races. That came as a massive boost for us,” Ahamed said.
“Now, I am taking care of my family.” The risks involved in motorcycle racing are tremendous. Ahamed got an understanding of it very early in his racing career.
“Interestingly, in my very first race, I was involved in an accident which resulted in a broken leg. My mother got scared. Such risks can be minimised by wearing proper protection gear and using the professional riding kit,” he said.
“More importantly, a rider has to stay relaxed during the race and not take unnecessary pressure.”

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