Mugello, 22 May 2016:
Aspar Mahindra rider Pecco Bagnaia took a third podium finish in the sixth race of the 2016 season, finishing only seven hundredths of a second from a first race win after 20 breath-taking laps in today's thrilling Italian GP.
Run at the magnificent Mugello circuit in a scenic mountainous setting outside Florence, the race was an epically close battle. Every lap looked like the first, as a pack of 20 or more riders ran into the first corner four or five abreast. Shoving, scraping and scrapping, the order changed constantly in a spectacular display of world class racing for the capacity crowd.
Second Aspar Mahindra rider Jorge Martin was part of the pack, running as high as eighth place several times, but crossing the line 14th. He was still just two seconds away from the winner in the thick of the brawl: the first 21 finishers were within five seconds of winner Brad Binder (KTM).
Mahindra has a perfect 2016 points record; and Bagnaia's third time in third place lifted him to fifth overall in the points.
The 19-year-old Italian had set the second-fastest qualifying time, only to be bumped back to the third row for straying minutely over the track limits. Undaunted, he finished the first lap in fifth place and played a leading role in the scrabbling pack for the full race distance.
The circuit's long finishing straight meant that slipstreaming was crucial. Robbed of a podium last year by three thousandths of a second, Bagnaia played his cards better this time to cross the line three hundredths of a second behind second-place Fabio Di Giannantonio and six thousandths of a second ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (both Honda). Fifth-placed Fabio Quartararo (KTM) was another two thousandths of a second behind.
The ever-improving Mahindra MGP30 racer, made by the only Indian constructor in the World Championship, is at its strongest at circuits where roadholding and handling are more important than acceleration and top speed.
The next race, in two weeks, is at a similarly fast circuit in Catalunya, where high-speed changes of direction should again play into the hands of the MGP3O riders.
PECCO BAGNAIA - 3rd Place
"A good weekend for me and the team - I think my best in the World Championship so far. We’ve been consistently in the top five, and finishing third at Mugello is amazing. I pushed to the limit in the last lap to try to close the gap to Brad, and maybe if Quartararo had been further away from me I could have fought for the win. But third is a good result, and I am happy with my third podium this year. It was an amazingly close race, and you could go from first to eighth in one lap - which is not easy. It's difficult to stay calm with bikes all around you. I tried to stay at the head of the group on every lap, but I went wide at the first corner with a few laps to go. I managed to go fast, overtake a bunch of riders, and finish on the podium. Hopefully we can continue with the work we’ve been doing here and will do at tomorrow's test, and continue to fight at the front."
MUFADDAL CHOONIA - CEO Mahindra Racing
"An incredible race, and once again it showed that Pecco Bagnaia and the Mahindra MGP3O are a fantastic combination. Our third podium this year matches our best record from previous seasons, just one third of the way into the year. Results like this reinforce our motivation to keep pushing the boundaries, and the conviction that we can take the step up from the third to the top step of the podium. Special thanks to our engineering team, who have worked tirelessly over the last three weeks to bring updates to this race – something made possible because our development facility in Italy is now almost firing on all cylinders."
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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