Motorcycle racer Sarath Kumar, 21, has got his career back on track six months after Mahindra Racing abruptly terminated his contract for want of funds. A South Indian cine star has come to his rescue and secured the money required for a season of the Spanish Moto3 Championship, which has been the stepping stone for many current MotoGP riders, including world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
On Wednesday, Sarath announced his signing with Spanish-based Monlau Competicion for which Honda's latest MotoGP factory rider Marc Marquez drove on his way to the championship's top class. Movie star Sarath Kumar heard about his troubles and helped him land sponsors.
Sarath will ride for the team astride a 250cc bike that is in many ways similar to the one Mahindra are fielding in the Moto 3 class of MotoGP this year.
In 2011, he became the first to compete in the two-wheel equivalent of Formula 1 in the Moto3 category with the Bangalore-based Ten10 Racing, but after three rounds lack of funds forced him to take a few steps back.
A fully paid up ride with Mahindra seemed like a way to prepare for a comeback but that was only until last July, when citing financial constraints on the part of Sarath, Mahindra cut short his campaign despite a third place in the third round of the championship at Monza (venue of the Italian F1 Grand Prix). When it came to his exit from Mahindra, Sarath wasn't particularly charitable.
“Basically, Mahindra had financial issues when it came to supporting my programme, but they kept changing their story,” he told HT.
“First, they said they would give me two years to settle in and get good results, then after my podium they said we needed more good results.
“When I had to leave, they made up another story of me not being able to raise the money.”
Having put it all behind him, Sarath is eager to move forward with a 10-race championship that promises a lot in terms of his growth as a racer.
“The best thing about the bike I'll ride is that it is a four-stroke with the same capacity as the one in the world Moto 3 class,” he said. “I know a lot more about four-stroke bikes than I do about two-strokes like the 125cc machine I rode for Mahindra.”