Motegi, Japan 15 October 2017: Mahindra rider Marco Bezzecchi rode from a career-best qualifying position to a sensational third place at Motegi today, overcoming dire conditions and conquering his rivals at a rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix.
The 18-year-old Mahindra CIP team rider from Rimini was less than a second away from second place, and his career-first podium came in his rookie grand prix season. This was his fourth time to finish in the points. The 16 points awarded for third moves Bezzecchi to the head of the Rookie of the Year standings, now four points clear of Japan's Sasaki.
It was a double top ten for Mahindra, as Jakub Kornfeil (24) underlined the strength of the only Indian constructor in the World Championship series with eighth place. The rider from the Czech Republic was on a SaxoPrint-backed MGP3O, badged as a Peugeot, Mahindra's sister company.
Mahindra's success, the second double top ten in the last three races, came in extreme conditions. The 4.8-km circuit had been wet throughout practice and qualifying, and this morning an oil spill caused a delay of more than an hour before an abbreviated morning warm-up could be completed. As a result, the Moto3 race was cut from 20 laps to 13, and started 55 minutes late.
By then, the rain had redoubled, with standing water and flying spray a problem for all riders. Starting from the second row of the grid for the first time played in favour of Bezzecchi, who finished the first lap fifth. He moved up to third by half distance, and was close behind Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) at the finish. Winner Romano Fenati (Honda) was just out of their reach; it was an all-Italian podium.
Kornfeil had a more difficult race, having to cope with shockingly bad visibility in the spray as he fought his way through the pack from 20th on the grid.
The good result was some compensation for problems that struck the official Aspar Mahindra team. Albert Arenas was out of the race after suffering a fracture in his right hand, crashing while well-placed in wet Qualifying. Team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta was an early retirement from today’s race.
The Japanese GP was the first of three flyaway races, with the Australian and then the Malaysian GP following over the next two weekends. Two weeks later, the Valencia GP closes the season, Mahindra’s last in the championship series.
Marco Bezzecchi, CIP Mahindra
"It is unbelievable! The conditions were almost impossible. At the end the rain was very strong and I was trying to stay focused to not make any mistakes. Thanks to everybody, to the team, to Mahindra, to the VR46 guys, to my family and friends. I'm sorry, I’m lost for words - it is a dream come true."
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing
"To us, this podium means almost as much as our first race victory. It's been a tough season, but the positive is that it is ending well, with our best results as we come to the end of our association with Moto3. This is a very emotional time. Thanks and congratulations to Marco, the CIP team and all the Mahindra Racing staff, for giving us this wonderful moment."
About Mahindra Racing
Mahindra Racing is the only Indian constructor in the Moto3TM class of the FIM MotoGPTM World Championship Series. Competing with the best-of-the-best in the world for six years running, it has seen phenomenal success since its debut in 2011.
Mahindra Racing supplies the Mahindra MGP3O - a single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 250cc motorcycle to the factory Aspar Mahindra Team and other customer teams. Mahindra also supplies an official Peugeot Motocycles derivative of the MGP3O to the factory Peugeot MC Saxoprint Team.
The 2017 Mahindra Racing rider line-up includes:
- Albert Arenas (SPA) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA) [Aspar Mahindra Moto3]
- Jakub Kornfeil (CZE) and Patrik Pulkkinen (FIN) [Peugeot MC Saxoprint]
- Manuel Pagliani (ITA) and Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) [CIP]
Mahindra Racing made history in the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix taking the first-ever podium for an Indian constructor. In the same season, the MGP3O recorded top-five finishes in 10 of the 17 rounds, a pole position, three circuit lap records, and a third position in the Constructors' Championship.
The 2014 season saw a further three podium finishes for the Indian constructor, including second place at the German Grand Prix.
In 2015, Mahindra Racing put up a fierce fight at the front of the pack throughout the season, and recorded a podium finish at the French Grand Prix.
2016 got off to a strong start with Aspar Mahindra Moto3 Team rider Francesco (Pecco) Bagnaia securing a third place podium finish at the opening round in Qatar. The Italian teen picked up podiums in Jerez (Spain) and Mugello (Italy) before making his historic first win in Assen (Netherlands) - Mahindra's maiden victory in the World Championship. It proved the high-level performance capabilities of the MGP3O. Two more victories followed with John Mcphee dominating the field in a wet Czech Grand Prix and Pecco taking a wonderful seven-second win in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Besides its commitment to the World Championship, Mahindra Racing supplies MGP3O machines to Team Aspar and Team LaGlisse in the World Championship feeder series - the FIM CEV Repsol International Championship (Moto3 Junior World Championship). Grand Prix legend Max Biaggi will spearhead Mahindra's effort in the 2017 Elf CIV - Italian National 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:
- Mobil1 Motorsport Award | NDTV Car and Bike Awards, 2017, 2013, 2012
- Motosport Award | Autocar India, 2017
- Bikesport Award of the Year | Times Auto Awards, 2017
- Racing Bike of the Year | Zeeignition Auto Awards, 2016
- Motorsport Award | Bike India Magazine, 2013
- Motorsport Award of the Year | ZigWheels Awards, 2012
For further information please visit: www.mahindraracing.com.
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A USD 19 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra provides employment opportunities to over 200,000 people in over 100 countries. Mahindra operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology, financial services and vacation ownership. In addition, Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel, commercial vehicles and two wheeler industries.
In 2015, Mahindra & Mahindra was recognized as the Best Company for CSR in India in a study by the Economic Times. In 2014, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000, a comprehensive listing of the world's largest, most powerful public companies, as measured by revenue, profit, assets and market value. The Mahindra Group also received the Financial Times 'Boldness in Business' Award in the 'Emerging Markets' category in 2013.
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Mr. Darius Lam
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Mr. Harry Lloyd
Mahindra Racing Moto3™ press officer
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