Assen Winner Bagnaia Saves Tenth At Sachsenring
Italian teenager Pecco Bagnaia (Team Aspar Mahindra) claimed a steadfast tenth place in today’s German GP, run in streaming wet conditions after the weather turned on race morning for the race that marks the halfway point of the season.
Team-mate Jorge Martin faced disappointment as a near collision meant that he slipped off in the treacherous conditions, after earlier running with the front group, finishing lap one in fifth place after starting from tenth on the grid.
But there was further consolation for the only Indian constructor in the World Championship series, as Peugeot rider John McPhee fought for a top-three rostrum finish, eventually finishing sixth in the thick of a battling group. The Peugeot team is a partner to Mahindra, and the machine is derived from the Mahindra MGP3O.
Like all eight Mahindra riders and his Peugeot team-mate, McPhee had the benefit of an all-new gearbox, an important step in boosting the competitive strength of the MGP3O.
The swirling rain and standing water made for unexpected results, with rookie Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda) repeating his wet-weather win in the Argentine GP.
Bagnaia, fresh from a brilliant first win for himself and Mahindra at Assen, had qualified 11th after an earlier front-row challenge was foiled in thick traffic on the shortest and tightest track on the calendar.
When race day dawned cold and very wet, his target was to claim a safe finish, and to continue to build on his position in the championship charts, where he lies fourth overall. Riding carefully, he saved tenth place while his closest title rivals failed to score points. Bagnaia is now within just eight points of compatriot Romano Fenati, who is third overall.
The World Championship series pauses now for the three-weekend summer break. Racing begins in earnest at the Austrian GP on August 14, the first of an intensive nine-race run to the finale at Valencia in November.
PECCO BAGNAIA – Tenth Place
“I’m happy to finish a race in Germany again! I’m pleased with the result. It was so difficult out there: 27 laps in the rain is not too easy, it was difficult to keep your concentration and try to finish the race. It was also hard to close the gap on the bike in front of me, I tried to overtake him on the last lap but couldn’t quite manage it.
Finishing in the top ten in these conditions is very important, with six points toward the championship. I’m now eight points off Fenati and closing the gap. In the next race we need to continue with this good work and try and overtake him in the championship, and keep pushing for a good second half to the season.”
JOHN MCPHEE (PEUGEOT) – Sixth Place
“I think that an even better result was possible today, but we need to take the positives out of the weekend. We’ve been really strong in all sessions and finished the weekend with a nice handful of points on the table. We’re moving in the right direction, we’ve made a step with the bike and can now go into the summer break more confident, train hard and focus on coming back stronger in the second half of the season.
A lot of my racing when I first started was in the rain, but it isn’t something I’ve had a lot of experience with in the last few years. Today was the first time riding the MGP3O in the wet, but we’ve been fast all weekend so I think we would have had the pace to compete no matter what the conditions.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO Mahindra Racing
“These were really treacherous conditions today, and it could have gone either way. Finishing was partly a matter of luck as we saw with Jorge Martin, who crashed because of another rider’s mistake. So congratulations to Pecco for tenth place and moving forward in the championship. We were delighted to see John up with the leaders on the Peugeot, which is derived from the Mahindra MGP3O. Our plan has always been to see as many Mahindras up there as possible, and this weekend showed that with our continual development work the bike is improving, and working well for a broader spectrum of riders.”