PODIUM JOY FOR MAHINDRA IN ITALIAN THRILLER
Mugello, 22 May 2016: Aspar Mahindra rider Pecco Bagnaia took a third podium finish in the sixth race of the 2016 season, finishing only seven hundredths of a second from a first race win after 20 breath-taking laps in today’s thrilling Italian GP.
Run at the magnificent Mugello circuit in a scenic mountainous setting outside Florence, the race was an epically close battle. Every lap looked like the first, as a pack of 20 or more riders ran into the first corner four or five abreast. Shoving, scraping and scrapping, the order changed constantly in a spectacular display of world class racing for the capacity crowd.
Second Aspar Mahindra rider Jorge Martin was part of the pack, running as high as eighth place several times, but crossing the line 14th. He was still just two seconds away from the winner in the thick of the brawl: the first 21 finishers were within five seconds of winner Brad Binder (KTM).
Mahindra has a perfect 2016 points record; and Bagnaia’s third time in third place lifted him to fifth overall in the points.
The 19-year-old Italian had set the second-fastest qualifying time, only to be bumped back to the third row for straying minutely over the track limits. Undaunted, he finished the first lap in fifth place and played a leading role in the scrabbling pack for the full race distance.
The circuit’s long finishing straight meant that slipstreaming was crucial. Robbed of a podium last year by three thousandths of a second, Bagnaia played his cards better this time to cross the line three hundredths of a second behind second-place Fabio Di Giannantonio and six thousandths of a second ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (both Honda). Fifth-placed Fabio Quartararo (KTM) was another two thousandths of a second behind.
The ever-improving Mahindra MGP30 racer, made by the only Indian constructor in the World Championship, is at its strongest at circuits where roadholding and handling are more important than acceleration and top speed.
The next race, in two weeks, is at a similarly fast circuit in Catalunya, where high-speed changes of direction should again play into the hands of the MGP3O riders.