More points for Mahindra at Motegi
Mahindra rider Marcel Schrötter finished in the points again at Motegi, with 12th place adding to his personal tally and reinforcing the team’s third place in the manufacturers’ championship as the end of the season approaches.
But the race brought heart-break to team-mate Danny Webb (20). The English rider made a brilliant start and held a strong 11th place for the first eight of 20 laps of the 4.801-km circuit north-east of Tokyo – only for his engine to stop for the most prosaic and unpredictable of reasons ... the failure of two studs securing the cylinder head.
Schrötter (18, from Germany) had been slowed by two crashes in front of him in the opening two laps and lost touch with Webb, but held his position almost to the end. Only with four laps to go did his choice of soft tyres leave him unable to defend himself when another rider took 11th place from him, but he held 12th to the flag.
The Mahindra team, the only one in the paddock to make its own engine and chassis, was operating at half-strength, with a skeleton staff of four Italian freelance mechanics replacing eight regulars who had taken the option not to attend the race due to fears of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
“Considering the team was at half-strength with no regular mechanics, it was a satisfying weekend. We battled the odds, and at least we had one bike in the points. It would have been double points, but for a small but costly problem for Danny. All the odds were stacked against us, but we managed to take something from positive from the weekend,” said Team Principal Mufaddal Choonia.
“I believe we demonstrated the value of the Mahindra brand – accepting no limits. We added to our points tally, and reinforced our position of third in the manufacturers’ championship,” he said.
Team manager Nicola Casadei added: “It was not so bad, considering our situation. Marcel in the points again, and I am sure Danny would have been in the top ten.”
The next round is the Australian GP at Phillip Island in two weeks.
MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 12th Position
I think we did a good job in a difficult weekend. It was hard to set up the bike, but we still qualified well. In the race I got a good start, but in the second corner two riders crashed in front of me and I had to brake. On the next lap in the same corner the same thing and I nearly hit the fallen bike. It meant I lost touch with Danny. I was on my own until near the end, when Jakub Kornfeil caught me. I was using soft tyres, and so I couldn’t push any harder. But more points is good.
DANNY WEBB – Did Not Finish
I was sure I was going to get my first top ten of the year. I felt comfortable with my pace, and although I was alone I knew I could keep it up and stay consistent. Then a cylinder-head stud sheared, and that was that. It’s hard to take: I’ve had so much bad luck this year. I hope it changes soon.