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After a successful 2014 for Mahindra Racing, the coming year will bring with it an exciting new chapter in the Mahindra Group’s MotoGP™ World Championship story.
India’s only constructor in Grand Prix racing scored three podiums in 2014 and regularly challenged at the front of the tight Moto3™ pack. Mahindra finished third overall in the Moto3 Constructor rankings at the end of the 2014 season.
The 2015 season, Mahindra’s fifth in the World Championship, will see a shift in focus. As a full-fledged racing factory, Mahindra will provide nine of its competitive MGP3O, 250cc racers to four independent teams in the Moto3™ class.
“We have spent the past four years developing our skills in MotoGP while greatly improving the performance of the Mahindra MGP3O motorcycle,” explained Mr. SP Shukla, Chairman of Mahindra Racing and Mahindra Group President – Group Strategy, Defense Sector, and Chief Brand Officer.
“Having established Mahindra Racing as a competitive force in Moto3, we took the strategic decision to put all of our efforts into the development of our racing machinery and in providing technical support to our customers, rather than running our own team. We have a great line up of partner teams using our racing bike in 2015 and we remain fully committed to success in the championship. As a result, Mahindra will have a greater presence than ever in the World Championship next year,” he added.
A new partnership with Jorge Martinez’s experienced Mapfre Aspar Team was announced earlier this season. The Spanish outfit has four World Championships to its name and will now lead the charge for Mahindra in the ultra-competitive Moto3 series with a three-bike line up. The Aspar Team’s Mahindra MGP3Os will be piloted by the 2014 Red Bull Rookies Champion, Spaniard Jorge Martin; Italian Francesco Bagnaia, a graduate of the VR 46 academy, who switches from the Sky VR46 team; and current Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara, contesting his third World Championship Moto3 campaign.
Meanwhile, Mahindra Racing will continue its strong association with its existing customer teams in Moto3. Italian rider Alessandro Tonucci will stay with Mahindra, but this time aboard the Ambrogio Racing MGP3O. While Ambrogio had a very successful 2014 season with South African Brad Binder, his brother Darryn makes the switch from the Red Bull Rookies to join the team in the 2015 World Championship.
The French CIP Mahindra team announced in Valencia that Remy Gardner will join their young Japanese CEV series rider, Tatsuki Suzuki, in the World Championship. The Australian teenager is the son of 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner.
Matteo Ferrari provides continuity to San Carlo Team Italia with his second season on the Mahindra MGP3O. He will be joined by his talented countryman, Stefano Manzi, who was third in the 2014 Red Bull Rookies Cup.
“This is a very strong lineup, arguably the best young talent on the grid” commented Mahindra Racing CEO Mufaddal Choonia. “Our new partnership with Jorge Martinez’s Aspar Team has started well and we are looking forward to working with them even more closely now. It is also immensely satisfying to continue working with Ambrogio, CIP and Team Italia. These are exciting times and we are confident that our results will be even better in 2015.”
As well as its commitment in the World Championship, Mahindra will continue to supply machinery to World Championship feeder series the FIM CEV International Championship in 2015. Two Mahindra MGP3O machines will contest the series under the Team Aspar banner.
The hard work for Mahindra Racing’s 2015 season has already started, with tests in Jerez this week for the Aspar Team. All four Mahindra teams will return to Valencia next week for a group test.
In order to enhance its focus on bike design and development as well as to provide a better service to its customers, Mahindra Racing has invested in a new technical base at Besozzo near Varese in northern Italy. This new facility will provide a MotoGP assembly, testing, manufacture, design and research and development centre for Mahindra, as well as improving levels of support for customer teams.
The new headquarters is the latest addition to Mahindra’s ‘neural network’ of innovation which comprises existing research facilities in India, Europe, US and South Korea.
“The new base is a great development for Mahindra Racing and the Mahindra Group,” explained Mr. SP Shukla. “It is another demonstration of our continued commitment to our racing programme and the Mahindra Two Wheelers business. As well as enabling us to provide a better technical service to our customers, the new facility provides us with a number of in-house capabilities for bike design and the development and fabrication of parts.”
He added, “There is no better test-bed for new technology than the pinnacle of two-wheeled motorcycle sport, and technology transfer has always been one of our reasons for racing in Moto3. The new Mahindra Racing headquarters will facilitate that process while benefitting from the engineering expertise within the entire Mahindra Group.”
Mahindra’s new technical base is not the only major investment it will make in Europe to support its growing two-wheelers business. The company has also recently announced that it has taken a 51% stake in French automotive giant Peugeot’s scooter business.
This acquisition gives Mahindra Two Wheelers’ access to the European market as well as the technology and brand of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, and the number-two European scooter manufacturer. Mahindra’s involvement will give Peugeot Scooters access to a number of new developing markets in which Mahindra Two Wheelers’ already operates.
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