Solid ride by Mahindra’s Webb in Italy
Mahindra rider Danny Webb finished strongly at today’s Italian GP, taking 20th position to improve on his qualifying slot by 12 places. A last lap charge saw him lead his group over the line after a fierce battle over 20 laps of the spectacular 5.245km Mugello circuit in the hills outside Florence.
The position was not enough to win points, but it did demonstrate the steady improvement in performance and reliability of the all-independent Mahindra MGP-30 machine, as the only Indian team in MotoGP racing pursues its quest to develop a challenger to the established racing manufacturers.
It also showed the 21-year-old English rider’s skills and race-craft, as he used slipstreaming tactics and the bike’s superb handling to move forward from 32nd on the grid, and then to dominate a fighting foursome, all crossing the line within 0.12 of a second.
New team-mate Riccardo Moretti, who has replaced Marcel Schrötter, had a disappointing debut in the Moto3 class. An error on the start line left the 2009 Italian 125cc champion out of the race before completing a lap.
The white-and-red Mahindra is one of only two independent machines in the new four-stroke Moto3 class, dominated by over-the-counter production-racing machines. Mahindra has chosen the much harder route of independent development in order to take full benefit of important engineering lessons from the race-track.
The race was a close thriller in front of the Mugello fans, won by inches by Spaniard Maverick Viñales from Italian Romano Fenati and German Sandro Cortese. Cortese heads the standings by nine points.
DANNY WEBB – 20th Place
The top speed was not too bad in the slipstream, but I knew I had to be in front before the last corner because I wouldn’t be able to overtake on the run to the line. I was quicker through the fast sections halfway round the lap so I made my move on the last lap and pushed hard to make a little gap, and managed to hold on. It’s good to get another finish, and I feel I’ve got my riding back to good form.