Another step for Mahindra Team

May 2, 2011

Mahindra rider Danny Webb finished 16th in today’s Portuguese Grand Prix. The 20-year-old Britain came so close to claiming his first points for the new Indian-owned team, but just lost the crucial 15th place with only two of the 23 laps remaining.

Team-mate Marcel Schrötter finished two places lower, a massive improvement on his 27th spot on the grid after the team found settings to suit the 18-year-old German and improve his lap time by two seconds. But crippling pain from an earlier injury struck in the race, slowing his progress.

The only team to build their own engine and chassis in the fiercely competitive 125cc class, Mahindra Racing now has a full day of testing in Estoril on Tuesday or Wednesday to iron out the little problems that are frustrating them, before the next round at Le Mans in France on May 15.

“I believe in my riders, and the engine is fast,” said team manager Nicola Casadei. “Now we must look at the data to understand why we had some suspension problems today that weren’t present yesterday. We have a full day of testing, with some new engine parts as well as the new rear shock absorber, and I am sure we will make the next step after that.”

DANNY WEBB – 16th Position

I’m gutted to just miss out on that point. The race was like Qatar. Everything was working in the first half, but when the tyres went down and lost grip, I was struggling. I saw the gap coming down from the rider behind me, and I tried my best, but when he came past I could see that he had much better grip out of the corners, where I was just bouncing around. We’re not too far off, but we need to work on longer runs to be more competitive at the end. I hope we can get it sorted at the test.

MARCEL SCHRÖTTER – 18th Position

I can’t say I’m happy, but it’s a lot better than my qualifying. Today we made a big step, almost two seconds faster from practice to the race. I got a good start, and then I was battling with another rider. His bike was a bit quicker but I was faster in the corners. But we came to a slow rider, who moved out of the way for him then cut back on the racing line in front of me, so I lost touch. My biggest problem was my left leg. I hurt it before the season, and it has been okay until now ... but today I had big pain in the last laps, and I was having trouble downshifting, and running wide in a lot of corners.

The Mahindra Group’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Chief Brand Officer, Ruzbeh Irani, was present at Estoril this weekend and commented: “It has been a fantastic experience to be here and witness MotoGP first hand. It is such an exciting sport and is an important platform for Mahindra to promote our two-wheeler business in India as well as raising the profile of the group internationally. The team has been working extremely hard and we are confident that their efforts will be rewarded with some good results. We are committed to the sport for the long term and I would like to thank Dorna, in particular, for the warm welcome that they extended to us this weekend.”

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