Assen, 26 June 2016:
Italian teenager Pecco Bagnaia made history at Assen today - fighting every inch of the way to claim not only his first grand prix win, not only the first win for the Mahindra Moto3 team, but the first ever in the history of the sport for an Indian constructor.
The 19-year-old Italian's triumph came after one of the fiercest races ever seen in the most competitive class in the MotoGP World Championships.
A pack at one stage 14-strong fought over centimetres of track and hundredths of a second, over the full 22 laps of the classic 4.542-km Assen TT circuit. The top three crossed the line within four hundredths of a second; the top six inside two tenths.
Bagnaia had qualified tenth, on the fourth row of the grid, but he put his white-liveried Aspar Mahindra racer at the sharp end throughout. After 99.924 km of the fiercest fighting, the 19-year-old star was ready to claim a virtual photo-finish win in a fairing-banging, paint-swapping brawl through the final chicane.
Victory came after the best season so far for the Mahindra MGP3O racing motorcycle. Bagnaia had already claimed three, top-three podium places. This first race win halfway through the 2016 season was proof positive of Mahindra Racing's hard-won progress, and the perfect reward for tireless work at the Indian company's state-of-the-art racing bike development and engineering facility in Italy.
Indian automotive and industrial giant Mahindra made a low-key start in grand prix racing in 2011, taking over an existing team in the final year of the old 125cc two-stroke formula. In 2012, with the advent of 250cc four-stroke Moto3 machines, Mahindra embraced full constructor status, with their own machine; and in 2013 launched the all-new MGP3O.
Dedicated development saw the Mahindra gain strength to become a regular top ten and then top-three challenger, en route toward today's first race win.
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra had launched the project in 2010 with the words: "The Indians are coming." Today, when the Indian industrialist's prediction came true at the most classic circuit on the calendar, he responded within minutes on social media: "How do I explain my emotions? Sorry for being a wimp, but I am moved to tears. Triumph over so many hurdles and scepticism."
Victory moved Bagnaia up to fourth in the championship, just four points away from third.
Second team rider Jorge Martin withdrew on the first day, hand injuries sustained three weeks ago at the Catalunya GP not sufficiently healed to allow a safe race. His place was taken by fellow-Spaniard Alberto Arenas (19).
The next race is the German GP at the Sachsenring in three weeks.
PECCO BAGNAIA - First Place
"I didn't believe it when I saw the chequered flag, but we knew that we were fast and strong this weekend. Every session we were fast, except qualifying where it was difficult to set a fast lap. In the first lap I overtook I think four or five riders, and in every lap I wanted to stay in first position as I knew that the rain could arrive at any time, and it was really important to stay at the front of the group. In the last two corners I thought it was impossible to get first, but finally I just did it, and it was incredible for me and for Mahindra.
"The MGP3O was really strong in the middle of the corner and in the braking points. But also in the straights our top speed was good, so it was easy to close the gap to any bike ahead of me. Thank you to Mahindra for giving me this bike."
MUFADDAL CHOONIA - CEO Mahindra Racing
"My heartiest congratulations to everyone - to the team, the engineers, and especially to Pecco, for achieving Mahindra's first win. We have been striving for this, and we have been so close a number of times. Now we have cleared that hurdle, and it gives us greater inspiration for more success in the future. This achievement is the result of a lot of hard work by all concerned, and I am so happy for everybody in Mahindra Racing. I think we all deserve this celebration - and then we get back to work to keep on moving forward."
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
Mr. Mike Lawson
Mahindra Racing Moto3TM press officer
Phone: +44 1628 450 708
Mobile: +44 7825 198 745