The Mahindra team celebrated a third successive top ten finish after the recently held Spanish Grand Prix, with rider Efrén Vázquez claiming eighth place in a fighting ride to maintain the all-new MGP3O’s record in its first races.
However, bad luck for Miguel Oliveira meant he missed out on points, after being knocked off then remounting to finish 16th. After starting 15th on the grid, the 18-year-old Portuguese rider had forced his way to near the front of a big pack disputing fourth place when the accident happened on the 11th lap.
For Vázquez (26, from Spain) it was the reward for a strong ride, the MGP3O’s superb handling helping him also battle in the same big group as his team-mate.
The race was stopped early after a crash, the second time in succession a red flag has taken the place of the chequered flag in the very competitive Moto3™ class. This time more than two thirds distance had been completed, and the results were taken from one lap earlier – the 15th of a scheduled 23.
This was the third of 17 rounds, and in every race so far the only Indian team in motorcycle grand prix racing has taken at least one top ten position at every round. Miguel’s misfortune meant it was the first time that Mahindra failed to get both riders in the World Championship points.
The next race is at Le Mans in France in two weeks – another twisty circuit where the brand-new MGP3O’s handling strengths should pay dividends.
The Mahindra machine is the newest on the grid – built, tested and made race-ready in less than six months, and is still at an early stage of development.
Efren Vazquez, who secured Eighth position, commented: “This is my second top ten this year, and Mahindra has had one or both riders in the top ten at every race so far. This is really important, so finally I am happy with this position. In the race I had a slight problem with the engine temperature coming up, so the bike was not really fast, but the chassis setting was really good, so I could keep fighting with the KTMs in the group. I tried my best – and then the red flag came out. Now I’m looking forward to Le Mans.”
Miguel Oliveira, who secured 16th position, said:“The race was going well. We changed the bike setting from yesterday, and the feeling was quite good and getting better in the race. I was getting to the front of the second group when I touched another rider and we both crashed. I was not happy because I did not think it was my mistake. Now we will try again at the next race. The bike is getting better, and we are beginning to understand the best settings.”
Mufaddal Choonia, Mahindra Racing CEO, said: “It was good and bad so we have mixed feelings. It was terrible for Miguel – the accident was not his fault, and he was having a phenomenal race with a potential for fourth place. But we’re glad Efrén pulled off a good race, to help keep Mahindra third in the Constructors’ Championship, and to keep himself in the top ten – he’s tenth overall, and Miguel is seventh.”