More points for Mahindra at classic Assen battle
Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Pecco Bagnaia claimed a hard-fought eleventh place in today’s Dutch TT, well to the front of a pack of more than a dozen riders scrapping every inch of the way behind a runaway lead group of seven.
The Italian teenager had qualified tenth, and had high hopes of being able to run with the leaders, if he could get a good enough start. He and his Mahindra – the only Indian machine in world championship racing – had the pace; but instead he found himself trapped in a brawling pursuit group as an equally tight group of seven broke away ahead.
Bagnaia got to the front of the group, but the pressure was relentless, riders entering corners two or three abreast, and the order swapping constantly.
Team-mate Juanfran Guevara was with him, until contact with another rider sent him off the track, to eventual retirement. Third Mapfre Mahindra teamster Jorge Martin lost touch with the pack, to finish 18th.
While Bagnaia showed again that the Mahindra has the speed to challenge the leading bikes, it was a disappointing result after a top-three podium in France, and a photo-finish fourth in Italy. But the racing in Moto3 is so close that a tiny slip can make a huge difference, the top seven at Assen crossed the line within just over half a second of winner Miguel Oliveira’s KTM; eighth to 16th were covered by just over 1.2 seconds.
The next race is the German GP at the Sachsenring, in two weeks.
Pecco – Eleventh place
Not an easy weekend for us. In qualifying we finished tenth, and I was happy with the result. But in the race it was so difficult for me in the group because I was losing a lot of positions in the straight, and it was difficult to find places to get them back. I tried to do my best, but today it was not possible to get to the podium. This is not a good result for us, because we made the podium in Le Mans, and we should be able to do it again.
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing
There is not a lot to say. We expect better results than this, because we know our machine and our riders are capable of it, so even though we have added to our points, it is not enough. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we need to keep working hard to achieve our maximum potential, and that is exactly what we will do.