Jerez de la Frontera, 10 March 2017: The Jerez circuit was host to the first official test of the 2017 season, providing riders and teams with three fruitful days of track time. While this was not Mahindra Racing’s first run on track in 2017, it was the first chance the entirety of the Moto3 World Championship class had to compare themselves to the competition.
Work started on Wednesday March 8 and concluded on Friday March 10, giving the Moto3 riders over three hours of track time each day. Steady progress was made through the various testing plans with little disruption, the weather remaining dry and clear near the coast of Cadiz.
Reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Champion, Lorenzo Dalla Porta set a 1’46.990 on Day 2 to end the test in 15th on the combined times. He and teammate Albert Arenas benefited from the sage advice of Nico Terol, the 2011 125cc World Champion, a lightweight class expert. Both Aspar riders spent the majority of the test working on chassis set-up, looking to fully understand the 2017 machine before racing begins once again in late March. Arenas attempted several fast laps on the final day while Dalla Porta elected to continue focusing his attentions on more long term goals.
Jakub Kornfeil showed his considerable experience in the Moto3 World Championship once again. The Czech rider was fast from his first encounter with the Peugeot, improving each and every session. A 1’46.473 on the third day saw him head home as the fourth fastest rider and the highest placed MGP3O machine. This impressive time had Kornfeil within a quarter of a second of the top spot and ahead of title favourites Fenati, Antonelli and Bastianini. His teammate, rookie Finn Patrik Pulkkinen, progressed well throughout the test and cut over a second off his time as he looks to get to grips with the World Championship.
The CIP pairing of Marco Bezzecchi and Manuel Pagliani ended the three-day test with clear areas to focus on, both having furthered their understanding of the 2017 MGP3O. For Bezzecchi the Jerez test also offered a chance to confirm his physical condition after an off-season collarbone injury, eventually finishing as the 24th fastest rider and over half a second faster than his teammate.
All involved in the test were pleased with the MGP3O’s development over the course of the winter, building on its best ever season in 2016. Teams and riders will now have just under a week to rest and prepare before they hit the track once again for the final test in Qatar from March 17 to 19. The Losail International Circuit is then set to host the opening round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship with practice beginning on March 23 before the race on Sunday, March 26.
Mufaddal Choonia, Mahindra Racing CEO
“Our time in Jerez has been very productive. All our riders and technicians have been able to get through a significant amount of work and we’re pleased with their findings. Jerez is an important circuit as it’s a good gauge of a bike and rider’s ability. Furthermore, finding a good base setting here pays dividends during the season as it offers a great starting point for the bike at other circuits. For Mahindra Racing as a manufacturer, it was an important test to finalise the plan for the coming season and cement the work we did during the winter break back at the factory. There is still work to be done before Qatar, but we start this season at the highest level since joining the championship in 2011.”
Jakub Kornfeil, Peugeot MC Saxoprint
“I'm pleased with the job we did. We understand our bike much better and made a crucial step forward with the set-up of our machine. The first two days might not have gone as we expected, but the final position is what counts. We have a good settings and with new tyres we produced a lovely time of 1:46.473.
“On the other hand, low 47s are a solid time for race pace. We are the fastest Mahindra, finishing fourth, gained more knowledge and a solid standard set-up so I'm satisfied. My big thanks definitely go to my Peugeot team and the Mahindra Racing technicians for the hard work during the test.”
About Mahindra Racing
In 2017, Mahindra Racing is competing as a constructor in its sixth year in the Moto3™ class of MotoGP™ 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 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 – Albert Arenas (SPA), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA); Peugeot MC Saxoprint – Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), Patrik Pulkkinen (FIN); CIP-Unicom Starker- Manuel Pagliani (ITA), Marco Bezzecchi (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 Moto3™ 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. Two more victories followed with John McPhee dominating the field in a wet Czech GP before Bagnaia took a wonderful seven-second win in Sepang.
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 2017. Grand Prix legend Max Biaggi will spear head Mahindra’s effort in the CIV, the Italian Championship.
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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Mr. Harry Lloyd
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