Rookie Martin saves the day for Mahindra
Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Jorge Martin kept the flag flying and the points adding up for the only Indian constructor in the World Championship series, battling in a massive group chasing the runaway leaders, and reclaiming 12th place on the final lap.
Spaniard Martin (17, from the capital Madrid) was the only one of three Mapfre Team riders to finish. The usual top rider Pecco Bagnaia ended a difficult weekend with early retirement, with a minuscule but costly technical fault that left him pushing into the pits. The problem was caused by a faulty engine kill switch.
Third teamster Juanfran Guevara did not start, after suffering debilitating injuries in two crashes in practice and qualifying.
Martin started from a best-yet second-row position, and held sixth for the first five of 27 laps of the tight and tortuous Sachsenring circuit, the shortest of the calendar, holding his own in a big and growing group chasing third place. The brawl comprised some of the biggest names in the Moto3 class, including previous race winners and rostrum finishers.
The rookie, winner of last year’s Red Bull Rookies title, was still ninth at half distance; but dropped to 13th as more experienced riders took advantage. On the last lap, he regained 12th, one place lower than his best yet finish in his first grand prix season.
The race was won in a runaway by championship leader Danny Kent (Honda).
The German GP marks the halfway point of the 18-round season, followed by a three-weekend summer break before the Indianapolis GP at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 9.
Jorge Martin – Twelfth Place
I was happy to be racing with such a top group of riders, and to be able to fight with them. We are near … but we still need to improve. The biggest problem was on the straights, where I suffered compared with them. But we do the best with what we have, and we are getting better all the time.
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing
We hoped to sign off the mid-season in a better way, so this wasn’t an ideal weekend. It was a really stupid problem with Pecco’s bike … the kill switch made the engine stall, otherwise I am sure he would have been fighting with the front group. Martin showed that he can stay in the points, but at the same time he lost six positions in the race. We need to analyse the data, and see how to help him make a step up in the second half of the year.