Mahindra Racing’s riders, Danny Webb and Marcel Schrotter, recorded the debutant team’s best ever double points result of the season in the 125cc Australian Grand Prix here today.
The pair finished tenth and 11th respectively in difficult conditions, which ultimately brought the race to a premature end at the Island located about 140km from Melbourne.
Webb’s finish strengthened the team’s position, currently placed third in the manufacturers’ championship with only two rounds remaining.
The 16th Grand Prix of the season was a lottery from the start.
The unpredictable ‘Island’ weather was in full bloom with rain delaying the start, forcing the Mahindra riders to decide on the grid whether to use rain or slick tyres, a decision that would prove crucial.
Attendant to that were suspension settings; a wet race would mean softer settings, which would accelerate tyre wear.
The race was started on a wet track, with most of the field on slicks. Webb used his vast rain experience to jet from 19th on the grid to seventh in the early stages, with Schrotter overtaking his teammate on the sixth of 20 laps, by which time the sun was shining.
The two were briefly separated before meeting again on the ninth lap, Schrotter in eighth, Webb ninth. They stayed together to the end.
The more experienced Webb finally took control on the penultimate lap. Unfortunately, with both riders on the softer rear tyre and with softer suspension, they were denied a double top-ten on the final lap when they succumbed to the pressure of another rider.
“If it had stayed like that we’d have been really quick, but it dried out. It was a good race and I was fighting with Marcel and the people who were coming past me, but I didn’t quite have the rear grip to stay with them. I was getting on the gas and it was sliding a lot. We pulled it off; Marcel was 11th as well, so it’s a good result and I hope Mahindra are happy with that,” said Webb.
Schrotter, too, was happy with the result.
“Nearly all the riders used slicks, so at the beginning it was very difficult because the first sector was completely wet. But I was quite confident that I could make some progress and then just from the middle of the race, the last nine laps was very difficult to ride, because we used the soft tyre, and also the soft suspension, so I couldn’t maintain the speed I had early in the race. I just missed the top ten, so we’re making progress, which is good,” he said.
Danny scored 6 points today and Marcel 5. For the season so far, Danny has 21 points and Marcel has 32.
Keywords: Australian Grand Prix