British racer Danny Webb took his brand-new Mahindra MGP30 to a solid finish in its first grand prix. Adjustments done to the MGP30 just prior to the raceday resulted in a significant improvement in speed. The 21-year-old rider had qualified 25th, but rode through from a bad start to finish 18th, just three places out of the points. The bike is still in the early stages of development, but definitely is improving at a very fast pace. Webb’s team-mate Marcel SchrÃ¶tter was not so lucky, after a good start from 23rd on the grid saw him gain places, up to 18th by lap four after which he ran into gear-shifting problems, and after five of the 18 laps of the 5.380 km Losail desert circuit, he pitted to retire.
The MGp30 is the result of Mahindra preferring to develop its own technology, challenging the established head on. Mahindra built the MGP30’s chassis, and runs its own engine development programme in co-operation with Italian engine manufacturer Oral. The programme is hampered by regulations limiting the number of engines to eight per rider. Improvements can only be done in discrete steps rather than continuously. Mahindra Group vice-chairman and managing director Mr Anand Mahindra was at the Qatari circuit to watch the new machine’s debut and he and the team were cheered by news from Italy that in the national 125 championship, Mahindra had claimed victory at Imola, on a machine ridden by Riccardo Moretti.