Aspar Mahindra Team’s Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia surged to his second and the MGP3O’s third win of the season at Malaysian Grand Prix motorcycle racing event.
Bagnaia took the lead on lap two, then survived a race of attrition as his closest rivals joined an ever-growing crash list.
The win, at the 5.543-km circuit close to Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport, was a massive boost to the Italian teenager’s hopes of finishing high up in the championship, lifting him back to third overall after losing ground in recent races as the victim of other riders’ errors.
It was Mahindra’s third win this year, with John McPhee taking sister-manufacturer Peugeot’s MGP3O to victory at Brno, confirming the strength of the only Indian constructor in the World Championships, on the day India celebrated the festival of Diwali.
Second Aspar Mahindra Team rider Jorge Martin was one of many crash victims, involved in a multi-bike accident on only the first lap. The Spanish teenager got to his feet and escaped serious injury, but was later helicoptered to hospital to investigate a concussion.
Independent Mahindra team riders fared well with Marcos Ramirez sixth, repeating his first top ten of the previous weekend in Australia; and Darryn Binder likewise, finishing tenth. Stefano Valtulini and Lorenzo Petrarca also scored points, for 13th and 14th.
Bagnaia said, “I think this is the hardest race of my life. I was pushing to my best. When I saw I had opened the gap to second I thought I needed to concentrate more and I focused on the win. To win today is a great result after a sometimes tough season, especially recently. This is the third win for Mahindra and my second win, truly an amazing feeling for me.”