The all-new Mahindra MGP3O made a dream debut in the first race of the 2013 season, fighting for top positions in qualifying, and taking seventh and tenth places in an action-packed race.
Built over the winter at the team base in Switzerland in just four months before first tests, Mahindra’s contender puts a purpose built 250cc four-stroke racing engine in a tailor made chassis. Fast and showing great promise from early tests, the MGP3O’s strength in only its first race underlines the promise for the only Indian team’s racing future.
The team’s new riders, Miguel Oliveira (18, from Portugal) and Spaniard Efrén Vázquez (26) had qualified fifth and eighth for the first of 17 World Championship rounds, held under floodlights in the desert dark of Qatar. The first race of the evening was in perfect conditions at the 3.343-mile (5.380km) Losail circuit.
Oliveira stayed with the leading five for the early laps, and they were still within sight as he fought back and forth for sixth. He lost it over the line by less than a tenth of a second, earning Mahindra’s best-ever GP finish in the MGP3O’s first race of the 2013 season.
Vázquez was trading blows in an even bigger battle, close behind. Four bikes crossed the line within just over half a second. The Mahindra was second in the group by a breathtaking 0.029 of a second, nonetheless saving tenth place.
Mahindra is in its third year in GPs, the second in the new Moto3™ class. The new MGP3O has been made in conjunction with Swiss company Suter Racing.
The next race is in two weeks, at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Miguel Iguel Oliver, who finished in seventh position, said, “It is a little bit frustrating when you feel you have the potential to fight for the top five, but in our first race we are very happy to be the first non-KTM bike. This is a big accomplishment for a bike that only came together hardly two months ago. I am really happy about the project and I am looking forward to the future races optimistic that we will be able to improve a lot.”
Efren Vazquez, who finished in tenth position, said,“The result is a good surprise for me but I finish the race a little bit angry because I think my rhythm was good enough to battle with Miguel. I lost time in the early laps, starting on row three. But finally the team got two really great results in the first race and that is very important for everybody. The whole team is really happy and motivated. I think we can be fighting for some even better results in the next races.”
Mufaddal Choondia, CEO, Mahindra Racing, commented, “A very encouraging start, considering that six months ago this bike was still on the drawing board. To see both riders in the top ten is really encouraging. It gives us a good platform to build on. We are so fresh and new into the project, and I am confident that we can really grow from here on.”