Greater Noida: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's passion for having the world's best superbikes in his garage has been well documented.
But the two riders of his Mahi Racing Team India were in for a pleasant surprise when the Indian cricket team captain easily shifted gears while talking to them about the nuances of bike racing and the technical aspects of tuning the bikes.
Dhoni formed Mahi Racing Team India in 2012 with the vision to promote superbike racing in India and the team made a fantastic start to the season with Sofuoglu winning the first race at Philip Island, Australia and Foret finished fourth.
“I follow the progress of the team very keenly and want to see more and more Indian youths take to Superbikes in the future,” said Dhoni, who has been regularly tweeting about the team’s progress in the last few weeks.
Playing a perfect host to world Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret, Dhoni spent over three hours with his guest and even apprised them with what they should expect when they coming to India for the season's final race in November.
"It was a great evening. We were supposed to meet for about 15 minutes but once we got talking about bikes, strategy to win races and of course cricket, time just flew," said Sofuoglu after their meeting with Dhoni.
Mahi Racing's Chairman and Managing Director Arun Pandey said, "the idea behind bringing the drivers to India was to let them know how passionate we all are for the sport and also promote Superbike racing in India.
"After meeting Dhoni, I am sure they will now know how dedicated we are to ensure that the team wins the championship this year," he added.
While the talk between Dhoni and the two riders revolved mostly around the racing team, the Indian captain also explained them the nuances of cricket and even how bats are manufactured and how the player's test them.
Foret, who is a Frenchman and hasn't followed cricket before, said that more than the technical details of cricket we were keen to know how Indian cricketers, and especially Dhoni, handle the pressure of expectations.
"He explained to us how he follows his passion of playing cricket and not get baulked down by the pressure of getting results," said Foret adding that he and Sofuoglu (from Turkey) have started following a bit of cricket after their last meeting with Dhoni during the team launch.
"He also told us that the pressure would build by the time we come here in November for the race and I am sure we will be prepared for that," said Foret, who also promised Dhoni his helmet after he finishes on the podium in the next race in Spain.
The final race of the season would be held at the Buddh International Circuit and the riders had a glimpse of the track on Saturday.
They were driven around on the track as competition rules do not permit them to ride on the track they would race in the season.
While the two riders had to be satisfied with a drive around, 35 members of Group of Delhi Superbikers (G.O.D.S.) burnt rubber on the race track in front of a sizable crowd that had come to see them in action.
"It was a great experience to ride on a F1 track," said one of the members of G.O.D.S. and said the tips from the two riders would come in handy for them.
Both Sofuoglu and Foret praised the layout of the track and said that they would look forward to racing here.