Teething troubles with a new development clutch meant both Mahindra riders retired from today’s Malaysian GP at the Sepang Circuit. The team has a short window to evaluate the issue before next weekend’s Australian GP.
Danny Webb retired at half distance of the 18-lap race, as his technical problems got worse. Riccardo Moretti had an even shorter race, retiring on the second lap, unable to select gears.
Today’s disappointment at the 5.548-km Sepang circuit is part of the risk of developing a machine in the white heat of grand prix racing – a route chosen by Mahindra, the first Indian team in GP racing, for the value of technical lessons learned.
Already the Mahindra team and riders are thinking ahead, and for next Sunday’s race at the swooping Phillip Island race-track will evaluate the new clutch units in practice. The nature of the seaside track will let the riders exploit the Mahindra MGP-30’s strong suit of high corner speed.
Today’s race was run in front of record crowds, after Zulfahmi Khairuddin became the first Malaysian to qualify in pole position. Khairuddin led much of the race, finishing a close second to Sandro Cortese, whose victory secured him the first Moto3 World Championship.
Action for next weekend starts on Friday, with the first of three free practice sessions.
DANNY WEBB – Did Not Finish
The slipper clutch works well when it’s right, but it’s really tricky to set up. Mine was playing up from the start, and then the engine seemed to lose power, so there was nothing for it but to retire. I’m looking forward to making up for this weekend at Phillip Island – it’s a great track that will suit our bike better than the last two.
RICCARDO MORETTI – Did Not Finish
A bad end to a tough weekend. I’ve been struggling to learn the track as well as get the bike set ... then on the first lap I had some clutch trouble, and I was stuck in fifth gear. Now I’m just thinking of next weekend, and having a better race.