Sepang (Malaysia): Englishman Danny Webb did the job for Indian outfit Mahindra Racing, gaining two places in the final lap to finish 13th, but luck deserted Marcel Schrotter as he failed to complete the race after colliding with a fellow rider in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday.
But despite Schrotter`s failure to complete the season`s penultimate race at the Sepang International Circuit, the Indian outfit is more or less assured of a third-place finish on the constructors` standings.
The final race is slated for Valencia in the second week of November.
The sweltering heat here was a far cry from the chilly weather of Phillip Island in Australia -- venue for the last race -- but that hardly played on the Mahindra riders` minds as they made a decent beginning, with Schrotter hovering around the top 10 in the first few laps.
But disaster struck when the 18-year-old German high-sided out of the final corner, suffering his first race crash of the season.
Webb, meanwhile, held his ground until lap six, when he gained one position and a lap later another.
Then followed a prolonged battle, which saw the 20-year-old Englishman going back and forth with Alexis Masbou and a few others fighting for the 12th place.
On the penultimate tour of the 5.548k circuit, Webb dropped back to 15th before a heroic final lap shot him up to 13th and along with it three valuable championship points.
The only machine on the 125 grid with both engine and chassis made by the team, Webb`s points strengthened Mahindra`s position on the Constructors Championship. They now have a 16-point lead over fourth-placed KTM with only one race to go.
The younger of the two, Schrotter started on a strong note, quickly moving into the 11th place in the 29-rider field.
Schrotter was a close 12th at the end of the sixth lap when the rear of his Mahindra let go, sending him into the air. It also denied him a chance to cement his championship position. He remains tied in 15th.
"We took a big step at the last race in Australia, so I`m slightly disappointed with the result, but I think Danny really pulled it off on the last lap," said Team Principal
"He gained two positions from where he was at the beginning of the lap. So 13th position is OK, but we are aiming to be hitting the top tens at the end of our first
season`s racing," he added.
Webb seemed fairly satisfied with the result.
"I think the result in the end wasn`t so bad. I got an OK start, but on the first lap I wasn`t aggressive enough and then I was on the back of (Danny) Kent`s group and I had a big slide and nearly crashed and lost the slipstream.”
"I suspected we were going to struggle in the race, it`s a fast lap and difficult conditions. I wasn`t really expecting a great finish and so I have to be satisfied with the result. I hope we can get a really good result to finish the season in Valencia," Webb said.
On the other hand, regret was writ large on Schrotter`s face.
"Really a shame, because we were well ahead of the next riders and so there was a great chance to pick up some good points. To have had a top-10 finish in these conditions would have been very, very good. I`ll try again in Valencia."
Spain`s Maverick Vinales, who took 40 minutes and 34.280 seconds to complete all the 18 laps, won the race while Sandro Cortese of Germany and France`s Johann Zarco finished second and third respectively.