Mahindra missed another double top ten in the MGP3O’s debut season by less than half a second in today’s Czech Republic Grand Prix, fighting hard in a big pursuit pack of Moto3™ machines that stayed close throughout an exciting 19-lap race of the fast and spectacular Brno circuit.
Efrén Vázquez had qualified ninth and team-mate Miguel Oliveira tenth for the race, at a long circuit where the still young Mahindra machine held its own on the sweeping corners and long climbs.
It was Portuguese teenager Oliveira leading the pair, and most of the time at the front of the pack disputing the championship points behind a breakaway front group of eight riders. Oliveira led the battling posse through to catch the stragglers from the front breakaway, losing eighth with two laps to go, and failing to regain the spot by 0.024 seconds.
Vázquez was in the same group, fighting for positions. He crossed the line 11th, less than half-a-second behind his team-mate in a typically close finish for the ultra-competitive smallest Grand Prix class. Just over 2.5 seconds covered eighth to 13th positions.
Mahindra is the only Indian constructor in world championship motorcycle racing, with its own independently built machine challenging established racing factories in the 250cc single-cylinder four-stroke class. The MGP3O was designed and built in six months over the winter, and has proved competitive from first tests.
So far the top-three podium has proved elusive for the all-new machine, but the MGP3O has claimed three fourth positions and qualified on the front row four times, including one pole position, even while in its first development season.
The Czech race was the middle of three consecutive events in the USA, mainland Europe and Great Britain – an intensive period of racing that restarts the season after the summer break. The next round is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next weekend, 11th of 17 events in the championship.
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – Ninth Position commented:
“Since Indy we have struggled a bit with rear grip and turning, and this sort of track appears quite difficult for our bike. But the MGP3O is still very young, so we have to gain experience and keep learning. This weekend we can take some positives to try at the next Grand Prix. Silverstone is quite similar to Brno in some ways, and I am quite excited to go there and keep on developing, so that we can be better at the end of the season
EFRÉN VÁZQUEZ – 11th Position commented:
“This was a difficult race for us and not a perfect weekend for the team, but we did the best we could and got some more points for the championship. We need to keep trying different solutions and keep working: the riders and the engineers. It’s enjoyable and interesting, and I’m confident we’re improving race by race, even if my results didn’t show it today.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO, Mahindra Racing commented:
“The last two races have not got us the same results as compared to the earlier races but Indy and Brno are two very difficult circuits, especially Brno, with very fast corners. We had a new swing-arm and forks at this track, and the positive thing is we gained valuable data while setting up the Mahindra MGP3O with these new parts. We have some more design improvements planned, and the factory will start working on them immediately. Unfortunately today the front group got an insurmountable gap in the first four or five laps, but our riders closed on the riders in sixth and seventh in the last laps, with Miguel leading the group forward. Without that early break, I am sure we could have finished higher, in the top five. Silverstone too is a similar track, but we are confident of an improved performance there.”