Mixed fortunes for Mahindra at Estoril
Mahindra rider Marcel Schrötter overcame first-lap problems to secure a solid top-20 finish in today’s Portuguese GP. But team-mate Danny Webb succumbed to a small but costly problem, forced to pull into the pits to retire after only eight of the 23 laps of the 4.182-km Estoril circuit.
His problem was a split radiator hose – the most minor of peripheral components, but a heartbreak for the 21-year-old British rider after his best-yet qualifying position on the all-new Mahindra MGP-30 Moto3 machine. Webb was 18th on the grid, with high hopes of a top-15 points-scoring finish.
Unlike the majority of the Moto3 field, made up of proprietary over-the-counter production racers from established firms, the white-and-red Mahindra is an all-independent venture, which will give the first Indian company in motorcycle grand prix racing the benefit of developing technology on its own account. The 250cc single-cylinder four-stroke is still in its earliest stages of development, but already moving forward in the pack.
“We have been working to achieve reliability, so it is a pity that a small low-cost component like this should stop Danny,” said team manager Nicola Casadei.
By contrast, Schrötter’s bike didn’t miss a beat. He had qualified 23rd, but a slow getaway put him 28th at the end of the first lap. By the finish he had picked his way through to 19th, well ahead of the group behind him, but with those ahead still tantalisingly out of reach.
The race was won by German rider Sandro Cortese (KTM).