Mahindra scripts Moto3 history

Five perseverant years of commitment bags the first Indian mark at the top level of bike racing.

Back in 2011, a select contingency of Indian automotive journalists proudly watched the season’s opening motorcycle World Championship races unfold at Qatar. Giant Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra had stuck its neck way out over the two-wheeled line by any yardstick; for earning a name selling tractors, jeeps, SUVs and commercial vehicles was one thing, and setting foot in this arena quite another. 

Mahindra had only just started making motorcycles and scooters mere months earlier, yet here we were witnesses in somber desert settings as the bold Indian firm dived headlong into the deep end of a sport dominated by the formidable names of Honda and KTM. Mahindra had signed two skilled riders to pilot their GP125 racer in 2011, German Marcel Schrotter and Briton Danny Webb in that, the last year of the 125cc GP racing class.

Five seasons on, and still steadfastly going for it in Moto3, the Aspar Mahindra Racing Team has finally made their red letter day, riding on the plucky shoulders of Francesco Bagnaia, as the Italian fought off stiff competition to cross the line first, placing the team on the top step of Moto3, in a historic finish.

Victory came anything but easy for Francesco Bagnaia. His Mahindra bike visibly on the limit as it kept pace with a hard-charging, fairing-banging lead pack, all KTM or Honda-engine powered. Positions changed lap after lap as often is the norm in the ultra competitive Moto3 class, but in the end, the Aspar Mahindra Racing Team bike used the ace up its sleeve, a sweet handling chassis that gave Francesco his victory in the fast flowing corners of the Dutch track, despite treacherous, greasy conditions. The famous last chicane at Assen proved pivotal for Francesco, as his Mahindra bike hurtled out of this quick, right, left, right carrying unmatched corner speed to snatch glory by a whisker – 0.039sec in virtual photo-finish with all top six riders within 0.161sec of him. It doesn’t get closer or harder fought than that, not even in Moto3!

Mahindra & Mahindra has quite literally pulled off the impossible, becoming the first manufacturer to break a Honda and KTM stranglehold on Moto3, and also the only Asian name outside the Japanese giants to earn a name in this Championship. The significance of Mahindra’s win is underlined by an emotion-charged tweet from Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman and MD, Anand Mahindra; “How do I explain my emotions? Sorry for being a wimp but am moved to tears. Triumph over so many hurdles & skepticism,” and seeing Mahindra Racing CEO Mufaddal Choonia wiping tears of joy off his face just after the race.

Mahindra has delivered India its first big milestone in the bike racing World Championship. It’s time to take our hats off and salute their hard fought victory – victory not just for Francesco Bagnaia and Mahindra Racing, but also to Indian perseverance – that’s hopefully the start of even bigger things to come in the sport.

About the author...

Rishad Cooper

Rishad Cooper is the two-wheeler editor of Autocar India.

Recent blog entries by Rishad Cooper:
We’ve exclusively driven the Jeep Compass in India, tell you what the all-new SsangYong Rexton is like, give our first impressions of the third-gen Maruti Dzire and have driven all of Lexus’ India cars. And there’s plenty more inside!
What's in this issue?

comments powered by Disqus

notSet

Trending Now
Latest News
One-off Rolls-Royce Sweptail revealed
The custom-made two-seater has been built on the same architecture as the...
7 minutes ago   5 pictures
Royal Enfield announces a new non-extreme ride format called Scramble
‘Scramble’ will encompass the spirit of adventure, competition...
12 hours ago   1 picture
BMW Concept Link electric scooter unveiled
A blend of advanced connectivity and rideability, the Concept Link previews...
14 hours ago   6 pictures
2017 Tata Hexa vs Toyota Innova Crysta automatic comparison
The Innova Crysta is currently the default choice for anyone looking for an...
14 hours ago   15 pictures
Mahindra, Ola launch electric vehicle project in Nagpur
Under the project, Ola’s fleet will have 200 electric vehicles,...
15 hours ago   1 picture

Latest Car Reviews

2017 Ford Figo Aspire long term review, first report

2017 Ford Figo Aspire long term review, first report

20 hours ago
How is the practical Ford Figo Aspire to live with? The one in our fleet...
2017 Mercedes E 350d review, road test

2017 Mercedes E 350d review, road test

1 day ago
A stretched wheelbase gives the E a big advantage over rivals, but is the...
2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire review, test drive

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire review, test drive

4 days ago
Bigger, lighter and better, the new Dzire compact sedan is more grown up...
2017 SsangYong G4 Rexton review, test drive

2017 SsangYong G4 Rexton review, test drive

May 22, 2017
The next-generation Rexton seems to have all that it takes to break into a...
2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet review, test drive

2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet review, test drive

May 19, 2017
You don’t always need perfect weather to enjoy a convertible, says...

Autocar Magazine

Issue: 214 | Autocar India: June 2017

We’ve exclusively driven the Jeep Compass in India, tell you what the all-new SsangYong Rexton is like, give our first impressions of the third-gen Maruti Dzire and have driven all of...
Autocar Magazine
Latest Poll
Which of these big SUV's would you buy?




or View results
Toyota Fortuner
  27%
 
Ford Endeavour
  52%
 
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
  7%
 
Isuzu MU-X
  14%
TOTAL VOTES: 1927

Vote now
View previous Polls »