Besozzo, Italy, 16 May 2017: The 2016 Moto3 season saw several dreams come true for Mahindra Racing, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team and several very special riders. Chief amongst these memorable moments was a historic first win at the TT Circuit Assen, achieving India's first World Championship victory and thus rewarding years of dedication. Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia was the talented rider who pushed the MGP3O to the limit at the Dutch track, achieving both his and Mahindra's dream of a first Grand Prix victory. Emotions were high that day and it will be a day which will live on forever in Grand Prix history.
Pecco would go on to take a second victory later that season, dominating the Malaysian GP and cruising to a cool seven second win.Aside from his two remarkable wins, the Italian took a further four podiums for himself and Mahindra in 2016 alongside a sensational pole at the British GP. Besides Pecco's heroics, the MGP3O took a historic first & second double podium at the Czech Grand Prix, rounding off a phenomenal season with three race wins and a total of eight podium finishes.
Having spent much of the year contesting the top three in the championship, two unfortunate DNFs in Australia and Valencia forced Pecco to settle for fourth in the championship. All involved were understandably frustrated with the tarnished end to an otherwise supreme season. Despite the difficult end, 2016 saw Bagnaia and Mahindra Racing take their highest placing in the Riders' Championship to date.
Now racing in the Moto2 World Championship, Pecco had not seen his race-winning machine since the 2016 Valencia GP. That was until Mahindra Racing CEO Mufaddal Choonia gave the Italian a call and set about reuniting the two long lost friends. On May 16 at Mahindra Racing's base in Besozzo, Italy, Francesco Bagnaia and his MGP3O were reunited in a special moment – Pecco gifted his bike to remind him of the success both he and Mahindra achieved together.
2016's results came as little surprise to those who followed Mahindra and Pecco closely in Moto3. The Italian scored his first podium in 2015 and from then on was a constant top-ten challenger. Meanwhile, before 2016, the MGP3O had scored a total of five podiums in one of racing's most innovative and competitive classes.
Mufaddal Choonia, Mahindra Racing CEO
"Today was something very special, it brought back many fantastic memories for all of us. When Pecco got us our first podium of 2016 in the season opener in Qatar, I promised him his bike to keep if he also got us our first race win that year, a little extra motivation – not that he needed much more. After his incredible win in Assen, he came to me and asked me if I remembered the promise I made to him in Qatar.
"At Mahindra, when we make a promise, we keep it. It was wonderful to see Pecco today and reminisce about our two years together. He may be in Moto2 now, but he will always be a part of the Mahindra family, our history, and we certainly have someone to cheer for in the intermediate class now! It has been a difficult start to 2017 for us, but everyone here in the factory and at the track is working to help put us back on top of the box, just like with Pecco."
Francesco Bagnaia, Two-Time Grand Prix Winner
"It was fantastic to see my bike again. I have to say thank you to Mahindra Racing, Mufaddal and the team for allowing me to always keep it in my collection. We made many great memories together and straight away from 2015 I knew that this bike had a lot of potential. The chassis was always so great and my two years with Mahindra taught me so much about racing and learning how to always get the most out of my bikes.
"We had some great races together during the two years but nothing will beat Assen in my memory. Crossing the line in first was unbelievable, knowing I had taken my first victory but then to see everyone from Mahindra and Aspar in ParcFerme, the emotion, it was all so special. When I have time I still like to return to the team box after I am done in Moto2, give some tips to the new riders and catch up with everyone. I want to say thank you again to Mufaddal, Mahindra and the team for giving me this bike and I know they will find their speed again."
About Mahindra Racing
In 2017, Mahindra Racing is competing as a constructor in its sixth 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 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 – Albert Arenas (SPA), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA); Peugeot MC Saxoprint – Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), Patrik Pulkkinen (FIN); CIP-Unicom Starker- Manuel Pagliani (ITA), Marco Bezzecchi (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 2017. Grand Prix legend Max Biaggi will spear head Mahindra’s effort in the CIV, the Italian Championship.
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, 2013 and 2017; 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. A successful 2016 campaign also saw Mahindra win Autocar’s Motosport Award in 2017 as well as the Times Fast Bikes Bikesport Award.
For further information please visit: www.mahindraracing.com.
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