Montmelo, 05 June 2016:
Aspar Mahindra riders Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin endured their worst race of the season so far in today's Grand Prix of Catalunya - the first time in seven races that at least one of the factory-backed Mahindra MGP3O riders has not finished in the points, with each falling out of the race.
It was especially cruel for Bagnaia, who had started from the third row of the grid and was holding his own in the usual leading pack of ten or more riders, with high hopes of being in position to attack in the closing stages to claim a classic fourth podium finish of the season.
Through no fault of his own the 19-year-old Italian was sent flying off the track and out of the race, when another rider lost control and hit his back wheel.
Martin also suffered distressingly bad luck after steadily working his way up from 22nd on the grid to a good position in the points, which would at least have preserved a perfect scoring record for the factory-backed team.
With less than six of the 22 laps of the 4.655-km circuit outside of Barcelona remaining, Martin slipped off on the first corner set, and was unable to restart.
It was left to customer-team rider Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate Mahindra) to preserve the perfect points record of the only Indian constructor in the championship. Darryn, younger brother of points leader Brad Binder, finished a career-best 12th, claiming his first World Championship points.
The race, which brought a first win for Honda-mounted Jorge Navarro, was run on a reconfigured version of the circuit, after a tragic accident on the first day of practice that took the life of Spanish Moto2 rider Luis Salom. For the rest of the weekend, MotoGP adopted a slower version of the track, using chicanes already in place to slow Formula 1 cars.
Mahindra Racing and the Aspar Mahindra team and riders joined the motorcycle grand prix community in expressing heartfelt condolences to Salom's family, friends and team.
The next race is the Dutch TT at Assen, in three weeks.
PECCO BAGNAIA - DNF
"I'm frustrated. It was really tough out there; the track was hot and slippery but I was in the leading group and had the pace to challenge the top five. Unfortunately I was pushed out by Guevara … nothing I could do about it. The bike was handling the conditions pretty well, and I'm disappointed I couldn't bring home a result for the team. But now we will prepare for Assen, and hope we can get back to good results there."
DARRYN BINDER - 12th Place
"I'm definitely happy with the result - getting into the points has been a long time coming. I probably could have done a bit better, but unfortunately the group broke up and a few riders skipped the chicane which made the gap bigger, so I lost the slipstream. I was on my own for most of the race. It was hot out there and started to get greasy at the end … but my bike felt good and very controllable throughout."
MUFADDAL CHOONIA - CEO Mahindra Racing
"Sometimes in racing there comes a weekend that you need to forget. This has been one of those weekends. It is unfortunate that it comes straight after our third podium finish of the season at Mugello. We just need to put it behind us and keep working to improve in what is already our best-ever season."
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.
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