Mapfre Team Mahindra rider
Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia claimed his best finish of the year so far, after fighting
hard from the sixth row of the grid to squeeze his way to the seventh place in the
Spanish GP. He narrowly lost the sixth place on the final hairpin.
“That was a really enjoyable
race, because I was fighting all the way with (Romano) Fenati and (Jorge)
Navarro. In the last lap I tried to pass Fenati, and I got ahead, but in the
last corner I made a little mistake, and finished seventh behind him. It was
good for us because we started from 16th. Tomorrow in the test we have
something to try to improve straight-line speed. We need to qualify better,
because from row six it is difficult to overtake a lot of riders. If we start
better, we can stay in the front, I think,” Bagnaia said.
Team-mate Jorge Martin made it
two Mahindras in the points as he claimed 14th place, also the GP rookie’s best
result so far, as the European season begins following three “flyaway” races.
Bagnaia’s pace was good enough
to match the leading group of five riders, but his starting position from 16th
place, in the middle of row six, meant that by the time he had fought his way
to the front of his group the leaders were out of reach.
It proved not only the
18-year-old Italian’s ability, but also that of the completely redesigned 2015
version of the Mahindra MGP3O machine. The need now is to focus on better
qualifying results, to capitalise on the obvious technical progress.
Mahindra’s young guns also
made progress. The only Indian machines in World Championship racing took from
18th to 20th places, with new boy Stefano Manzi sandwiched between the more
experienced Matteo Ferrari and Juanfran Guevara. The other three rookies – Tatsuki
Suzuki, Darryn Binder and Remy Gardner – claimed 23rd, 24th and 25th places
The race, over 23 laps of the
4.423-km Jerez circuit, was won by championship leader Danny Kent (Honda), at
the head of a five-bike leading gang.
The next round is the French
GP at Le Mans.
“We should have been further
forward on the grid. It is really important now to focus on qualifying. Today
showed how you can get stuck. Pecco had the pace of the front runners
throughout the race, but unfortunately he was in the wrong group. We are happy
for Jorge Martin, who again scored points. The target for him is to keep adding
to his score, and improve as the season progresses,” said Mufaddal Choonia,
CEO, Mahindra Racing