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.

“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.”

Francesco Bagnaia - Second 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.”

Stefano Manzi - Fourth Place

“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.”

Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing