Mahindra’s Martin claims best yet after bumpy weekend
Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Jorge Martin rode to a fine fighting eleventh place in today’s Catalan Grand Prix, his best result so far in the 2014 Red Bull Rookies Cup champion’s first grand prix season.
The 17-year-old from Madrid prevailed over a titanic struggle for the position, crossing the line at the head of a group that only a few laps before had numbered more than ten riders, swapping places at every corner. This adds five more point to his tally, after finishing in the points twice earlier this year.
The only Indian manufacturer’s joy at the growing maturity of the leading one of their “Young Guns” was tempered by a crash in the last corners for his more experienced team-mate Pecco Bagnaia. The Italian – third and fourth at the last two races – was on Martin’s back wheel, and set for 12th, after a difficult weekend. He remounted to finish a disconsolate 20th.
Third Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara was also playing a leading role in the group but he slipped off on the tricky 2.94-mile (4.727-km) circuit outside Barcelona. He also remounted to finish out of the points.
The Mahindra squad faced set-up issues during the weekend, at a circuit where bumps in the braking areas – brought up by Formula One cars – pose an added challenge.
The next race is the classic Dutch TT at Assen, in two weeks.
Jorge Martin – 11th place
That was a really, really hard race. Because of the slipstreaming, every time I was leading the group a lot of people would pass me down the straight, so it was a big fight. I was trying to pass everywhere. In the end I took the lead of the group, and tried to push as hard as possible. Finally, eleventh place is really good – my best so far. Now I am really looking forward to the next races.
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing
This was not our best weekend: we’ve been struggling with bike set-up issues throughout, and that meant a race below our true potential. The positive is Jorge Martin fighting to a strong 11th, his best GP finish. This will boost his confidence and help him to keep on improving in his first season. It was bad luck for Pecco, slipping off in the last corners just behind Martin, because he could also have been in the points.