Italian teenager Francesco
Bagnaia (Pecco) made history at Assen on June 26, 2016 – fighting every inch of the
way to claim not only his first grand prix win, not only the first win for the
Mahindra Moto3 team, but the first ever in the history of the sport for an
The 19-year-old Italian’s triumph came after
one of the fiercest races ever seen in the most competitive class in the MotoGP
A pack at one stage 14-strong
fought over centimetres of track and hundredths of a second, over the full 22
laps of the classic 4.542-km Assen TT circuit. The top three crossed the line
within four hundredths of a second; the top six inside two tenths.
Bagnaia had qualified tenth,
on the fourth row of the grid, but he put his white-liveried Aspar Mahindra
racer at the sharp end throughout. After 99.924 km of the fiercest fighting,
the 19-year-old star was ready to claim a virtual photo-finish win in a
fairing-banging, paint-swapping brawl through the final chicane.
Victory came after the best
season so far for the Mahindra MGP3O racing motorcycle. Bagnaia had already
claimed three, top-three podium places. This first race win halfway through the
2016 season was proof positive of Mahindra Racing’s hard-won progress, and the
perfect reward for tireless work at the Indian company’s state-of-the-art
racing bike development and engineering facility in Italy.
Indian automotive and
industrial giant Mahindra made a low-key start in grand prix racing in 2011,
taking over an existing team in the final year of the old 125cc two-stroke
formula. In 2012, with the advent of 250cc four-stroke Moto3 machines, Mahindra
embraced full constructor status, with their own machine; and in 2013 launched
the all-new MGP3O.
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand
Mahindra had launched the project in 2010 with the words: “The Indians are
coming.” Today, when the Indian industrialist’s prediction came true at the
most classic circuit on the calendar, he responded within minutes on social
media: “How do I explain my emotions? Sorry for being a wimp, but I am moved to
tears. Triumph over so many hurdles and scepticism.”
The next race is the German GP
at the Sachsenring in three weeks.
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