Phillip Island, 23 October 2016: Independent Mahindra rider Darryn Binder was just five hundredths of a second from a top-three finish in a chaotic Australian Moto3 GP at Phillip Island today, while Aspar Mahindra Team rider, Jorge Martin, fought through from the back of the grid to a valuable sixth place.
Another independent Mahindra finished seventh, a best-ever placing also for Marcos Ramirez, team-mate to Binder in the Platinum Bay Real Estate team.
The results came in a frantic ten-lap sprint after a multiple rider accident brought the planned 23-lap race to an early stop. Second Aspar Mahindra Team rider, Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, was already out of the action after falling innocent victim to another rider’s error before the crash that curtailed the first race.
The worst-injured victim of that crash was Brno GP winner John McPhee, riding an MGP3O for Mahindra’s sister-brand Peugeot Motocycles.
Bagnaia had been fighting for a top-three podium position when he was eliminated on the fourth lap. The race was red-flagged on the sixth, meaning that the bitterly disappointed Italian was not eligible for the restart.
Martin had already survived the lap-one melee, which put him to the back of the pack. He had pushed through to 17th, still moving forward, when the red flags stopped the action.
Further misfortune awaited when he stalled his engine on the formation grid. He was pushed back to pit lane and had to start from the back of a grid, depleted to 24 riders from the original 34 by a spate of crashes in the first running.
Martin (18, from Madrid) rapidly cut his way through a tight group, taking third place shortly after half-distance. But he was heading a group of 16 riders changing places constantly, slipstreaming down the straight and cutting inside on the sweeping corners of the scenic 4.448-km seaside Phillip Island circuit.
In the final shuffle, Martin finished sixth, just 15 hundredths of a second from a potential third, and inches ahead of Ramirez.
Binder, younger brother of race-winner and new champion Brad Binder (KTM), had led the pack onto the finishing straight, but lost a historic first podium by inches when Aron Canet (Honda) came out of his slipstream over the line.
The Australian race was the middle of three successive flyaway races, with the GP circus moving directly north for the Malaysian GP next weekend, before the season closes at Valencia in mid-November.
Darryn Binder, Fourth Place
“We started sixth this morning and then on the first lap someone rode into me and I crashed. I thought my race was over. I picked my bike up and kept going. When the red flag came out I thought, 'Maybe this is my chance.' Fortunately enough I got to the front and thought that no one would get past me before the line. Canet slipstreamed past me right at the end. I'm still very happy with fourth. It's the best finish of my career but would have loved to have been on the podium.”
Jorge Martin, Sixth Place
“In the first race I was involved in a fall, luckily I did not go down, but dropped to last. Anyway, I did not give up and I continued to try to score points. After the second crash, which has been very ugly, I helped Jorge Navarro to get to the pits but this burned my clutch. We changed it, but on the grid I stalled the bike and we had to start from the back. It's a shame, because I was fighting for third despite starting last. But sixth position gives us more points in the championship. I gave the maximum, I knew I could be at the front and that if we had a better start I could have run with the first two, but with the slipstream has been very difficult to catch them.”
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing
“It was a bitterly disappointing weekend, where we had been confident of a podium finish. Instead, we are feeling robbed, when a mistake by another rider put Pecco out of the race. And who knows where McPhee might have finished, but for the crash? This takes nothing away from a fantastic race by Darryn Binder, as well as Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez. It is good to see Binder and Ramirez there, who have not been in the top ten before. It shows the growing strength of the Mahindra package. Finally, best wishes to McPhee, who suffered a fracture and has flown home to Scotland for treatment. We hope to see him again at Valencia.”
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.
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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