Comunitat Valenciana, 13 Novemeber 2016: Aspar Mahindra Team rider Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia was robbed of a clear third in the world championship in today’s Valencia GP, when for a second time in three races he was sent flying as innocent victim of a mistake by the same rival rider.
Fresh from his second win of the season at the last round in Malaysia, the Italian teenager had made a strong start with the lead group. But on only the first of 24 laps of the tortuous 4.005-km Ricardo Tormo circuit outside Valencia, rival Gabriel Rodrigo lost control at Turn 13, and crashed right under Bagnaia’s front wheel.
There was no way of avoiding him, and while Bagnaia was lucky to escape injury, he was bitterly disappointed. Although he had qualified 16th, he was only four tenths off the pole time on a very close grid, and had made a strong start, well in touch with a lead group that was still close together at the finish.
The same rider had knocked Bagnaia out of a strong front-running position in the Australian GP two races ago; although the Mahindra rider bounced back to victory one week later at Sepang.
Bagnaia’s win had lifted him to third overall, with a chance of moving to second in today’s race. Instead, out of the race with zero points, he dropped to fourth. In spite of the disappointment, it was still the best ever championship result for Mahindra, at the end of the marque’s best-ever season.
Team-mate Jorge Martin finished tenth in today’s race, after fighting his way back to the front of a four-strong battle in the closing stages.
The Valencia GP closed off the best season so far for the only Indian constructor in world championship racing. Bagnaia took Mahindra’s MGP3O to first at Assen in the Netherlands and Sepang in Malaysia; while another wearing the badge of sister-brand Peugeot took John McPhee to his first win in the Czech Republic GP. Bagnaia added four more podium finishes to his wins, and has included a pole position among three front-row starts. His less experienced team-mate Martin has been four times in the top six, with a best of second.
The Valencia race was the 18th and last of the 2016 season.
Francesco Bagnaia – DNF “I’m okay but I’m not so happy. I was happy if I could finish the year in the top three but today it wasn’t possible. I would have been happy to finish in the top three but today we couldn’t. I have to say thank you to Aspar and Mahindra for the year.”
Jorge Martin – Tenth Place “It was a hard race. I started really well and I pushed very hard to stay with the front group but they were maybe two or three tenths faster than me. I just couldn’t go with them at the start. Then I picked up the pace but I was in a group with a lot of fighting and this was disturbing me. Finally I made two great laps at the end to get tenth position. It’s not the result I expected today but it has been a great two years with Mahindra and with Aspar. Now we look towards the future.”
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing “Again, we rue our bad luck. Today we had very realistic hopes of finishing third in the championship. It didn’t happen, but fourth is the highest a Mahindra rider has ever finished, illustrating the fabulous season we’ve had in 2016. It shows the big leaps our development team has taken, producing a bike that was fighting for victory in so many races this year. We bid a tear-filled goodbye to Pecco, to Martin and to many other riders not with us next year, to say thank you, and wish them the best for their future.”
About Mahindra Racing
In 2016, Mahindra Racing is competing as a constructor in its fifth 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 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 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 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.
For further information please visit: www.mahindraracing.com.
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