Mahindra in the thick of the fight in Argentina
Mapfre Team Mahindra rider Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia finished eleventh in today’s third Moto3 World Championship round – in the thick of an extraordinarily close 14-bike bike battle for second.
Although Pecco lost some places in a last-lap bump-and-grind reshuffle, and finished just out of the top ten, the stop-watches tell of a battle of inches, with results something of a lottery. The Mahindra rider was only 1.6 seconds off second place, and the jostling group from second to 15th was covered by just 2.3 seconds.
While Honda-mounted Danny Kent scored a second runaway win, the cream of the field were in the race-long brawl for second, with positions shuffling throughout. Bagnaia proved the strength of the Mahindra MGP3O in that company, pulling through from 17th on the grid to a best across-the-line placing of eleventh.
Mahindra’s young guns also showed strongly in a close race over 21 laps of the 4.806km circuit. GP rookies Stefano Manzi (San Carlo Team Italia Mahindra) and Remy Gardner (CIP Mahindra) were 18th and 19th, within sight of the points; and fellow-beginner Jorge Martin (Mapfre Team Mahindra) was 22nd, one place down on more experienced Mahindra pilot Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia Mahindra). Mahindra is the only Indian manufacturer in the world championships, and the 250cc MGP3O racer has been completely redesigned for 2015.
The next round is the Spanish GP at Jerez in two weeks.
Pecco Bagnaia – Eleventh place
Over the weekend we had some problems with tire grip. But we were ready in time for the race. During the race I overtook a lot of riders from 17th and I wanted to stay near the front because I needed to stay there for points. In the last lap it was frustrating because I could have finished seventh but I went in wide on one corner and I lost four positions. Overall though I am happy with today’s race. My fastest lap was strong, and I am happy going forward to Jerez.
Mufaddal Choonia – CEO, Mahindra Racing
Again the result don’t show the true potential of our package of bike and rider. Pecco was again extremely close, and in the battle for the podium positions. He was fighting strongly in a big group, but he was pushed out on the last corner. It shows that for the rest of the season, anything is possible. We go from Argentina to start the European season feeling optimistic.