Le Mans, France 21May 2017:In spite of a costly crash to the leading Mahindra rider, the only Indian constructor in the world championship series had three machines in the points in today's French GP, scoring its best result of the year so far.
Mahindra Aspar team rider Albert Arenas had qualified a career-best fifth and was running a strong fourth when the first attempt at the opening race of the day came to an abrupt end on only the second lap of the 4.185km Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans.
The entire leading group and more than 18 other riders crashed early on the second of 24 scheduled laps on oil spilled by a rider involved in an earlier crash.
With oil on several corners, a massive clean-up operation coincided with frantic repair work in the pits, before the field lined up again for a restart 40 minutes later, for a 16-lap race.
Arenas again started strongly, and was in the lead group when he slipped off and out of the race on the fourth lap. He was one of eight riders who crashed in the second race, robbing Mahindra of a first potential top-ten result as the season gains momentum.
But it was still the best race of the year, three of Mahindra's MGP3O machines finishing in the points, compensating somewhat for the disappointment.
The best of them was experienced Czech rider JakubKornfeil (24), riding a Peugeot MC Saxoprint team MGP3O wearing a Peugeot badge, for Mahindra's sister company. He finished 11th, for his first points of the season.
Second Aspar Mahindra rider Lorenzo DallaPorta (19) was 14th, one place ahead of CIP team rookie Marco Bezzecchi (18), both from Italy. It was the first time in the points in 2017 for the pair.
The results show that the Italy-based Mahindra race outfit is picking up the pace after a difficult start to the season. With points in the first two European rounds and a strong, if thwarted, performance by Arenas, who scored his first points at the last round at Jerez, the dedicated hard work is paying off.
Today's race brought a third victory in five races for Spanish Honda rider Joan Mir.
The next race is the Italian GP at Mugello in a fortnight.
JakubKornfeil, Peugeot MC Saxoprint
"Quite a crazy race! A crash for me and then the restart, thanks to my team for their hard work to get the bike fixed. In the restart, I was feeling strong and I had a strategy for the end of the race. I had to decide if I would try and win the group, but maybe crash, or settle for good points. I said it was better to take the points because that was really important for us today. I didn't want to risk and crash. For sure there was more, but we needed the points. If every race is like this, it could be OK. In Mugello, if it's the same situation then I think I will risk a little more to pass some riders. Five points, quite good.
"I was able to gain a lot under braking. I changed my lines a little bit, braking with the bike more upright and I could catch them. Some of my lines looked a little strange maybe, but it was fast! I took some wider lines, especially near where the oil was spilled, and gained a lot. It also maybe helped with tyre life a little as I wasn’t braking as hard in so many corners."
Mufaddal Choonia, Mahindra Racing CEO
"Again, we have made some progress this weekend, and three riders in the points makes it our best race of the year. It could have been so much better if Albert Arenas had not been one of a number of riders to crash out. Until then, he'd clearly demonstrated the growing strength of our package. We'll keep working, and keep making progress, to get the results we know we can manage."
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, 2013 and 2017; 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. A successful 2016 campaign also saw Mahindra win Autocar’s Motosport Award in 2017 as well as the Times Fast Bikes Bikesport Award.
For further information please visit: www.mahindraracing.com.
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