Popov joins Webb for Mahindra at Misano
Mahindra’s top rider Danny Webb – one of several high-profile injury victims at Indianapolis – will be back in the saddle and at full strength for Sunday’s San Marino and Rimini Riviera grand prix. And exciting Czech newcomer Miroslav Popov will also be back, after a thrilling debut at the last round at Brno.
Popov (17) takes the place of second rider Riccardo Moretti, recovering from injuries sustained in a crash before the Czech Republic GP.
Webb missed the race with a wrist fracture from Indy the week before. Several top riders crashed on the US circuit’s unpredictable surface, with MotoGP world champions Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden also out injured.
The 21-year-old English rider is back to full strength, after undergoing treatment in a hyperbaric (high pressure) chamber to speed healing in the intervening four weeks. “I’m good as new ... I’ve been training with the arm for the last week,” he said.
Webb was eager to get back in the saddle, to continue Mahindra’s program of developing its own fully independent Moto3 grand prix racer, challenging the might of proprietary machines from established racing factories. New this year, the Moto3 class is for single-cylinder 250 four-strokes. In Brno Mahindra Racing announced a new technical partnership with the company of experienced motorcycle engineer Eskil Suter to build a new Mahindra Moto3 machine for the 2013 season.
Popov joined the first and only Indian team in the MotoGP series at Brno. In only his fourth GP and his first-ever on a four-stroke, the ex-motocross racer made a thrilling debut. Making light of difficult damp conditions he put the white-and-red Mahindra MGP-30 in third place until almost half distance. Popov later crashed while battling with a gang of seasoned grand prix racers, who had eventually caught up.
The race at the newly renamed Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli (in honour of the local hero fatally injured at last year’s Malaysian GP) is round 12 of 17 for Moto3. The tortuous 2.626-mile (4.226 km) circuit is near the seaside, with hot dry conditions expected for a tiring 19-lap Moto3 race, scheduled to start the day at 11:00.
It was hard missing the Brno race, but my wrist has recovered, hurried along by the hyperbaric treatment, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike. Misano is quite technical, and our good handling chassis should help.
It’s like a dream, to have another grand prix on the Mahindra. I had a fantastic time at Brno. Misano is a new challenge for me.