Silverstone, 04 September 2016: Team Aspar Mahindra rider Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia fought to a brilliant second place finish in a hold-your-breath Moto3 battle at Silverstone today, finishing less than two tenths of a second away from victory at the sharp end of a 12-strong brawl.
The Italian teenager had started from his first pole position, and fought every inch of the 17 laps of the long and technically challenging 5.9-km British circuit to stay at the front of a massive group, with riders changing places at every one of the 18 corners.
It came down to cool-headed tactics in a hot-headed group. Bagnaia started the last lap in third place, but used his experience to move up to second, finally crossing the line right in the slipstream of race and championship leader Brad Binder (KTM). It gave him 20 valuable points, moving him up to third overall in the championship, just eight points short of second-placed Jorge Navarro (Honda), who crashed out of today's race.
It was almost two Mahindras on the podium, with wild card Stefano Manzi (Mahindra Racing) making blazing progress from 34th on the grid to join the lead pack in the early stages. The 17-year-old Italian fought to the end, holding his own among the biggest names in the fiercely competitive Moto3 class. And it was almost three MGP3Os in the top ten, with second Aspar Team rider Jorge Martin eleventh in spite of a penalty that had obliged him to drop back in the leading group.
Second at Silverstone is a second successive podium finish for the only Indian constructor in the World Championship, and continues Mahindra's best ever season. Bagnaia claimed the MGP3O's first win at Assen, and has been in the top three five times; while Martin claimed his first podium, finishing second at Brno two weeks ago. The winner there was Mahindra’s sister brand Peugeot, with John McPhee taking his first win on the MGP3O.
The intensive MotoGP season moves directly to Italy next weekend, for the San Marino and Rimini GP at Misano, where Mahindra Racing will celebrate its 100th Gran Prix race start.
Francesco Bagnaia - Second Place
"It was a very difficult race, because everyone wanted to stay in front, and the two factory KTMs were very fast on the straight. But in the first sector the Mahindra's good handling meant I was really fast, and I could also overtake in braking, so that was good for me. I am happy with this performance, and third in the championship is really important for me, for the team, and for Mahindra."
Stefano Manzi - Fourth Place
"Starting from the last row of the grid I didn't have high expectations but I just wanted to aim for a points finish. I managed to get up to the top group of 15 and found that I could battle with them comfortably and nobody was making the break, so I just went for it. I really thought I had a chance of a podium until I had the coming together with Navarro. I am so sorry that he and Migno fell. I lost a bit of time then, but I am really happy with the result. The team did a fantastic job and the bike was perfect everywhere on the track, slow or fast."
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing
"We are delighted with this result, which shows that our programme of continuous improvement is really bearing fruit. Once again Pecco showed what he is capable of achieving on the Mahindra, while the unexpected star of the race was Stefano Manzi, through to fourth from 34th on the grid. For a wild card to achieve this really shows the growing strength of the MGP3O. This was a fantastic result for our 99th race, and we look forward to the hundredth race next week even more eagerly."
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.
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