Mahindra Racing hoping for luck to change
The Mahindra Racing (MR) team did not have the best of starts to the MotoGP season with their drivers German Marcel Schrotter and Briton Danny Webb finishing the Moto3 qualifying session for the Qatar GP in 23rd and 25th positions respectively on Saturday.
Red Bull-KTM’s Sandro Cortese will begin Sunday’s first ever Moto3 race in pole position after clocking a brisk 2mins 08.188 seconds at the Losail International Circuit.
The first and only Indian outfit in the MotoGP Championships however, need not sweat — despite the humidity under floodlights here — over Saturday’s performance considering they made an impressive debut in the now defunct 125cc class in 2011.
MR finished third in the Constructors’ Championship besides going down into the history books by becoming the team to clinch pole (thanks to Webb) in the last race of the two stroke era in Valencia, Spain. The Moto3 class with 250cc four stroke bikes has been introduced only this year (in place of the 125 cc race) and MR’s drivers, like most other teams in the fray, will need time to get a hang of the newer and more powerful machines. It’s no wonder then that MR COO Mufaddal Choonia clearly spelt out the team’s vision even before the qualifying session began on Saturday.
“It’s a new category and there’s a brand new bike — the MGP3O — so things will be different. Though we have retained the drivers, we can’t expect results instantly. We’ll need some time,” Choonia said.
Moments later, some good news trickled in for MR with their Italian driver Riccardo Moretti set to begin the second round of the Italian Champioships in Imola in second place.
Moretti, who was victorious in the team’s debut race last month, clocked 2mins 3.399 seconds finishing painstakingly close — just 0.035 seconds — on the heels of pole winner Aprilia’s Andrea Mantovani (2mins 3.364 secs).
Moto 3: Qatar Gp Live on Ten Sports & ESPN India, 9.15 pm