It was day of mixed fortunes for Mahindra Racing. Even as their Moto3 rider Marcel Schrotter’s race was coming to an early end in the sixth lap of the season-opening Qatar MotoGP here, news came trickling in from Italy that the team won their second straight race in the Italian Championships 125cc category and Indian rider Sarath Kumar secured his first international points with a creditable seventh place finish.
In the first race of the new Moto3 series, which replaced the old 125cc class, Mahindra had a disappointing outing with both riders failing to secure points. While Schrotter had to retire with mechanical problems early in the race, teammate Danny Webb did marginally better, finishing 18th, over 54 seconds behind winner Maverick Vinales in an FTR Honda.
Speaking to HT prior to the race, German rider Schrotter had maintained that the bike was still a work in progress and improvements will happen over the course of the season. “The acceleration of the bike is at par with the top teams, but while cornering we have lost speed,” he said.
British rider Webb added that the lack of time Mahindra Racing had to tune the bike to the new 250cc, four-stroke specifications, was the reason they were nearly three seconds off the leaders. “Since the announcement in 2010 that 2011 would be the last season of the 125cc, two-stroke bike, most teams began work on their 2012 bike two years in advance. For us, 2011 was our first season and we had develop the bike right through the season, and couldn’t devote much time to develop the 2012 bike. As the season progresses it will improve, but to expect things to change before the next race itself would be a miracle,” said Webb.
The writer’s trip has been sponsored by Mahindra Racing