Jerez de la Frontera, April 24, 2016
Aspar Mahindra rider Pecco Bagnaia claimed his second top-three podium finish of the four-race-old season at the Spanish Grand Prix today, keeping his head in a fearsome front-runner battle that lasted the full 23 laps of a typically intense Moto3 race.
Bagnaia had put the Mahindra MGP3O in third place at the opening round in Qatar. The Spanish podium return marks the start of the European season, and confirms the confidence of the only Indian constructor in the World Championship that the more traditional and technical European circuits will better suit the sweet handling of the all-new 250cc racer.
With machine development still at an early stage, Aspar Mahindra riders Bagnaia and Jorge Martin had kept the points coming in over the next two races in Argentina and the USA; and hopes were high for a strong result in Spain after Bagnaia qualified a strong fourth.
The 19-year-old Italian was promoted to the front row when pole qualifier Brad Binder (KTM) was put to the back for a technical infringement - and he made the most of it from the start.
Bagnaia led on the track twice over the 23 laps of the 4.423-km circuit in the south of Spain, holding on strongly and awaiting a last-lap climax as a three-bike battle became four-way when Binder caught up. The South African managed to move clear to claim a classic career first win, riding from last to first.
The last lap saw the remaining trio - Bagnaia, his fellow VR46 Academy graduate Nicolo Bulega (a GP rookie) and Spaniard Jorge Navarro - exchange places repeatedly, each hunting for any advantage. They were still virtually side by side into the crucial final hairpin. Bulega's KTM was narrowly in front over the line, then Bagnaia and long-time race leader Navarro (Honda). Second to fourth was covered by less than two tenths of a second.
The team's joy did not extend to second rider Martin, an early crash victim after he was hit by another rider soon after the start.
The next round is the French GP at Le Mans, another twisty circuit where Bagnaia finished third on the 2015 Mahindra MGP3O.
PECCO BAGNAIA - Third Place
"That was a really, really difficult race. Navarro took a really fast pace from the start to stay in front. Because he was so fast, I tried to stay behind him and pass him in the final lap. Finally I finished third. Congratulations to Nicolo for a great race, and thanks to Mahindra and the team: the bike was really good, and I am looking forward to the next races coming up."
MUFADDAL CHOONIA - CEO Mahindra Racing
"Two podiums in the first four races of a season is the best start for us as a constructor since we began grand prix racing. Once again, Pecco proved that he has the talent of a champion - congratulations to the VR46 Academy in Italy, which is producing such a lot of talent for the Moto3 grid. Results like this really motivate us to push even harder to keep improving. We started with our technical update plan from this Jerez GP onwards and we will continue to bring in important updates over the next two or three races."
About Mahindra Racing
In 2016, Mahindra Racing is competing as a constructor in its fifth year in the Moto3TM class of MotoGPTM and remains the only Indian constructor in the series, having first participated in 2011. Mahindra Racing supplies the Mahindra MGP3O single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 250cc motorcycle to the factory Aspar Mahindra Team and three customer teams. Mahindra also supplies an official Peugeot Motocycles derivative of the MGP3O to the factory Peugeot MC Saxoprint Team.
The 2016 Mahindra Racing line-up includes: Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3 - Jorge Martin (SPA), Francesco Bagnaia (ITA); Peugeot MC Saxoprint - Albert Arenas (SPA), John Mcphee (GB); Platinum Bay Real Estate - Marcos Ramirez (SPA), Darryn Binder (RSA); CIP-Unicom Starker- Fabio Spiranelli (ITA), Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN); 3570 Team Italia - Stefano Valtulini (ITA), Lorenzo Petrarca (ITA).
Mahindra Racing made history in the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix taking the first-ever podium for an Indian constructor. The MGP3O recorded top-five finishes in 10 of the 17 rounds in 2013 as well as a pole position, three circuit lap records and third in the constructors' rankings. The 2014 season saw a further three podium finishes for the Indian motorcycle, including second place at the Sachsenring. In 2015, the Mahindra regularly fought at the front of the ultra-competitive Moto3TM class and recorded a podium finish at Le Mans.
2016 got off to a strong start for Mahindra Racing with Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3 rider Francesco (Pecco) Bagnaia securing a third place podium finish at the opening round in Qatar. The podiums continued in Jerez and Mugello before Pecco made history with victory in Assen, Mahindra's first in the World Championship. It was a historic day for everyone involved and proved the high level performance capabilities of the MGP3O. As well as its commitment in the World Championship, Mahindra continues to supply MGP3O machines to Team Aspar to compete in World Championship feeder series, the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship in 2016.
Mahindra's bold decision to take on the world's best at the highest level of motorcycle racing has won the team a number of prestigious awards in India, including: the NDTV Car and Bike Awards - 'Mobil 1 Motorsport Award of the Year', 2012 and 2013; the Bike India Magazine - 'Motorsport Award', 2013; and 'ZigWheels Motorsport Award of the Year', 2012. Mahindra also won ‘Racing Bike of the Year' at the Zeeignition Auto Awards, 2016.
For further information please visit: www.mahindraracing.com.
The Mahindra Group focuses on enabling people to rise through solutions that power mobility, drive rural prosperity, enhance urban lifestyles and increase business efficiency.
A USD 17.8 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra provides employment opportunities to over 200,000 people in over 100 countries. Mahindra operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology, financial services and vacation ownership. In addition, Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel, commercial vehicles and two wheeler industries.
In 2015, Mahindra & Mahindra was recognized as the Best Company for CSR in India in a study by the Economic Times. In 2014, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000, a comprehensive listing of the world's largest, most powerful public companies, as measured by revenue, profit, assets and market value. The Mahindra Group also received the Financial Times 'Boldness in Business' Award in the 'Emerging Markets' category in 2013.
Visit us at www.mahindra.com.
Our Social Media Channels
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MahindraRise
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MahindraRise
For further enquiries
Mr. Darius Lam
Phone: +91 22 2491 6818
Ms. Ellie Neville
Mahindra Racing Moto3TM press officer
Phone: +44 1628 894 701
Mobile: +44 7780 820 444