Jerez de la Frontera, 07 May 2017: Mahindra Racing’s hopes of regaining momentum in the return to Europe came to fruition in Jerez today, with official team rider Albert Arenas picking up his and the team’s first points of the year with a hard-fought 14th place.

The 20-year-old Spaniard, who had qualified an equal career-best 13th, battled hard with more experienced riders for the lead of a pursuit group locked in a bitter fight for 12th place. Arenas had placed third in morning warm-up and was confident for the race. Trapped by his starting position in the chase pack, he was less than a second off the lead, after 23 laps of hard racing around the iconic 4.423-km circuit in the south of Spain.

Team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta was exchanging places with his team-mate for the first half of the race, but lost speed as the tyres wore down during the 101.8-km race. He finished 19th, losing 18th place to Jakub Kornfeil on the Peugeot-badged Mahindra in the closing stages.

Mahindra, the only Indian constructor in the world championship, had a disappointing time in the first three races, after recording its best-ever season in 2016, with three race wins. The three flyaway races brought scant rewards to the new and less experienced rider line-up, after a major upgrade to the MGP3O Moto3 machine.

The Italy-based race department and the Spanish official Aspar team remained confident, however, that a return to more familiar tracks in Europe would help the riders to achieve the full potential of the single-cylinder 250cc racing machine.

Today’s race brought a first win to Spanish Honda rider Aron Canet.

Jerez marked the start of the high-intensity European season. The next race is the French GP at Le Mans in a fortnight.

“After a really good Warm Up we were confident of having a good race, aiming to stay in the first group. It was really difficult because we haven’t done this yet but we still tried. In the first lap the group was broken and we just tried to keep our pace to stay at the head of the second group. It was good to gain the first points for me and for Mahindra, now it’s important to continue in this way. But it’s a shame, I had an incident in the last corner with another rider when I was 12th. I’m not happy about this because it was quite an ugly move by him but I have learned about this and next race it’s my turn.”

Albert Arenas, Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3

“It seems that this weekend we have taken a small step forward and broken into the points. It was good to see Albert’s strong and consistent pace in the race, and he would have got a better result if he hadn’t been mugged by the same rider who seems to have an affinity for Mahindra riders. Now we hope to keep improving, and we’ll continue working to put Mahindra where we need to be, well up into the top ten and with more to come.”

Mufaddal Choonia, Mahindra Racing CEO