Phillip Island, Australia 22 October 2017: One week after a first podium of the year for the only Indian constructor in the World Championship, three Mahindra riders finished in the points in a spectacular Australian Grand Prix today, after earlier challenging for the lead in a massive Moto3 brawl.
The first race of the day was shortened from a scheduled 23 laps of the fast and scenic seaside Phillip Island circuit to just 15, after a rain squall brought out red flags. Mahindra's success came in spite of losing leading rider Marco Bezzecchi, who slipped off his CIP-team Mahindra on the eighth lap, after pushing his way through to as high as second place in the leading pack from 12th on the grid.
Bezzecchi, who claimed Mahindra's first podium of 2017 in Japan last Sunday, left the fight to his team-mate Manuel Pagliani, who had qualified a career-best seventh; as well as the pair of official Aspar Mahindra riders Lorenzo Dalla Porta and substitute Maria Herrera; and the Saxoprint MC Peugeot riders Jakub Kornfeil and Patrik Pulkkinen. The Peugeot is a rebadged Mahindra MGP3O.
Dalla Porta was the best of them, holding his own as the huge leading pack spread out slightly and crossing the line tenth, barely four seconds behind winner Joan Mir (Honda). Less than a tenth of a second behind, Kornfeil was 12th and Pagliani took the final point for 15th.
Difficult weather struck with a vengeance on race morning; with a sodden morning warm-up and the Moto3 field coming to the line on wet tyres. By then, however, the track was drying rapidly in the sunshine. The race was declared dry, all changed to slick tyres on the grid.
But the treacherous weather had another card to play, with rain spots during the race becoming a full-blown cloudburst after 16 laps. The red flags came out directly, and results were taken from lap 15.
In terms of points, this was Mahindra's third-best result of the season. The top race was last weekend's Japanese GP with a tally of 24 points across the five riders out on track. Two races earlier, the Indian marque garnered 23 points at the San Marino GP, and today three riders totted up another 13. With Mahindra withdrawing at the end of this season, the MGP3O is giving itself a good send-off.
Mir's victory today made him the first World Champion to be crowned in 2017, with two races to spare.
The Australian GP was the second of three flyaway races on consecutive weekends, with the Malaysian GP starting next Friday. Two weeks later, the Valencia GP closes the season, Mahindra's last in the championship series.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Aspar Mahindra Moto3
"What a race! It has been incredibly difficult the last few races and even this weekend with the problems we had early on. We were able to make up a lot of positions and I kept pushing on the limit. It's a shame that the rain came because I felt like I could still have made up some more positions if the race went the full distance, but there was no other options with the rain. Phillip Island is a beautiful circuit but the weather can be crazy! I would like to thank the Aspar team and all of Mahindra for continuing to support me after some difficult races."
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing
"Congratulations to our Mahindra riders, with three in the points in another difficult race. It was a pity for Marco Bezzecchi crashing while fighting right at the front, but he still showed the potential of the MGP3O and his own talent. One of our aims this year was to develop young riders. We are coming to the end of Mahindra's association with Moto3 on a high note, which makes us proud."
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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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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For further enquiries
Mr. Darius Lam
Phone: +91 22 2491 6818
Mr. Harry Lloyd
Mahindra Racing Moto3™ press officer
Phone: +44 1628 450 731
Mobile: +44 7450 624 931