Termas de Rio Hondo, 09April 2017:Mahindra were just three places away from the points in today’s Argentine GP, second round of the 2017 World Championship series in the ultra-close Moto3 class.

But close is not good enough for the only Indian constructor in World Championship racing, especially after three race victories in 2016, and the team is looking forward to fighting hard in the remaining 16 rounds.

While teams and riders face one more “flyaway” race in two weeks in Texas, Mahindra’s Italy-based race engineers will be striving to maximise the obvious potential of the new-this-year version of the 250cc MGP3O, and looking forward to the start of the week-in/week-out grind of the European season.

For the six Mahindra riders – five of them Grand Prix rookies – the goals are still clear, on a completely revised MGP3O machine that showed strong speed potential and the bike’s trademark impeccable handling in pre-season tests.

Today’s race, run over 21 laps of the fast and rhythmic lakeside Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, in the northern reaches of Argentina, brought a second victory to Honda-mounted Joan Mir.

The top MGP3O finisher was again experienced Czech racer Jakub Kornfeil, improving on his Qatar result two weeks ago, in 18th place on the Peugeot MC Saxoprint machine, badged for Mahindra’s sister company. The official Aspar Mahindra Team riders had mixed fortunes. Albert Arenas was 25th, after coming back from a heavy crash on Saturday. Team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta retired to the pits.

The next round is the US Round, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, in two weeks.

“Our goal was to try to take advantage of the starting position to catch a good group and hold on for the race. However we didn’t make the right tyre choice, and that spoiled everything. The tyre was completely gone … it was like being on water; I was almost crashing all the time. From there, I just tried to stay on the bike and finish the race.”

Albert Arenas, Aspar Mahindra Team

“Clearly we are extremely disappointed with the way the first two races have gone. We have to really put our heads down and see where we can improve. Our first target is to get as many Mahindra riders in the points as possible. We knew it would be difficult considering five of our six riders are rookies, which makes our job even harder. But these are not excuses. We need to get going.”

Mufaddal Choonia, Mahindra Racing CEO