The Indian-owned but Italy-based Mahindra team comes straight off its best result so far to its home GP: and riders Danny Webb and Marcel Schrötter are relishing the prospect of the fast curves of the picturesque Mugello circuit.
The 5.245-km ribbon of tarmac has been resurfaced since the last visit, and the Mahindra pair hopes that the circuit’s sustained speed will suit their exclusive machine: the only one on the grid with both engine and chassis built by the team.
In Mahindra’s debut season, results have improved race by race, with the last two rounds in Britain and the Netherlands clearly showing the improving pace. Confidence has also been growing, with the team and its two new riders developing a harmonious and productive working environment in the pit.
At Assen, the double points finish so narrowly missed in Britain came along with Mahindra’s first top-ten in the highly competitive class. The 18-year-old German Schrötter was a strong ninth, his English team-mate Danny Webb (20) 13th.
The Italian GP is a massively popular event, thanks to Valentino Rossi: but there is passionate interest also in the 125cc class, a national speciality from the beginning of racing. Fans crowd the hillsides of the steep-sided valley, and the atmosphere is unique.
For Mahindra’s team manager Nicola Casadei, a mood of cautious optimism was boosted by the ever-improving performance. “Last weekend, the Mahindra bikes ran perfectly, the riders also. Mugello is a challenging track, but we are getting stronger all the time,” he said.
The Italian GP is the eighth of 17 World Championship rounds for the 125 class.
Another race where I like the track and I like the place. Our engine goes well at the top end, and there are those fast ess-bends where you can really keep the speed up. It should be another good race.
My feeling with the bike has really come better over the last two races, and my pace is good enough for more top-ten finishes. I want to keep going the same way in Italy, and be stronger in the early laps.