Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tested and healed, the Mahindra Racing boys take on the ‘Ring’

14 July, 2011: The Mahindra pair of Danny Webb and Marcel Schrötter face with confidence the race that marks the mid-point of the famous Indian auto-industry giant’s first-year challenge in two-wheeled grand prix racing.

For Marcel, there is the special taste of his home GP. The 18-year-old from the south of Germany has every hope of building on his recent strong form.

For the more experienced Danny (20, from England) it’s a come-back race after a morning injury saw him make a heroic start at the previous round in Italy, only to retire in agony.

And for the Indian Mahindra team, it is the last race before a break in the 125 season, closing a hectic European spell in which both reliability and performance of their GP 125 bikes have been tested and proven, with a run of ever-better qualifying and race results.

The Sachsenring, host to the German GP since 1998, is a very different circuit: crammed into a tiny area, but combining a very slow and twisty start with a spectacularly fast second section. This includes the famous “waterfall” back straight, where riders plunge down steeply at top speed.

Mahindra is the only team in the highly competitive 125 class with its own engine and chassis, and further tests after Mugello, as well as workshop development, promise an increasingly serious challenge.

Schrötter, ninth at Assen and 11th at Mugello, is now regularly fighting in a very close group disputing good top-ten positions after a slow start to the season.

Webb had qualified one place ahead at Mugello, but a crash in morning warm-up left him with a bone-chip injury to his shoulder. In almost two weeks since, the Englishman has undergone treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, and is very much ready to make amends and exploit the improved potential of his Mahindra bike.

The German GP is the ninth of 17 rounds in the 125cc World Championship.

For the last few races, my feeling with the bike and my confidence to push to the limit have been getting better and better. The results show that. So of course I am looking forward to the Sachsenring and I’ll try to make a good result. But we have to stay concentrated and try to keep up the progress at every race.

I’ve done about six hours in a hyperbaric (low-pressure) chamber, and my shoulder’s feeling good. It was quite a small injury really, but I wanted to make sure I’d be as fit as possible for Germany. I reckon I’ll be 99 percent, if not better. The bike’s definitely improving, with some more bits since the last race. At this track, you need to keep it settled on the tight corners and dial it in for the fast section – that’s where you get the most benefit.

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