LACK of fans has affected most events in Qatar, but MotoGP has fared relatively better. It is one of the most high-profile annual competitions held in the country at the floodlit Losail International Circuit, but the general feeling is that the number of spectators could be increased with more aggressive marketing.
Losail has become a familiar terrain for leading riders including Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi while that it is the only night MotoGP race has been an added attraction for fans. But the number of spectators should be a cause for concern for the international body and local organisers, who spend heavily on its organisation.
Official data showed that 24,866 spectators watched last year’s Grand Prix over three days, which is a sharp increase from the 5,089 which turned up in 2004, the launch year.
But considering that the Austrian Grand Prix attracted 215,850, the highest turnout among all 18 GP legs, Qatar has still a lot of catching-up to do.
“After all, there aren’t many motorcycles around in this country, but the night race is still an excellent deal and it holds up,” wrote Paolo Scalera of GPOne.com.
Rossi and Marquez take many of their hardcore fans from Italy and Spain to Doha, but the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation could market the event a bit more aggressively and attract more followers by offering them packages, which can include visits to iconic souqs as well as Arab cuisine, dune bashing and desert safari.
A fan group could also be formed for ace Qatari rally driver Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, who is a two-time Dakar winner. It should be exciting for the group to follow Nasser to the inviting Dakar stages and that, in turn, will pump up the champion as well.