Mahindra Racing successfully completed its pre-season testing programme at Jerez in southern Spain yesterday. The new riders for the Indian team, Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira and Spaniard Efrén Vázquez, ended the three-and-a-half days with the 6th and 16th (seventh on day four) fastest times in the Moto3™ class respectively out of 33 participating riders.
The new look Mahindra team has made steady progress throughout the winter tests. The focus this week has been to work on set-up for the all-new red and white Mahindra MGP-3O motorcycles and to record as many kilometres as possible to identify any issues. The riders have completed a combined total of 2,427 trouble-free kilometres at Jerez, venue for the third round of this year’s MotoGP World Championship. The bikes will now be packed up and shipped directly to Qatar for the season-opening race on 7 April.
“I am very satisfied with the package we have put together since last season in terms of the riders, team and bike,” explained Mahindra Racing CEO Mufaddal Choonia at Jerez.
“Everything has gelled well and we are achieving the targets we set after some very hard work from all concerned over the winter. This is an entirely new bike developed between our new Swiss base and Mahindra in India. I think it looks great and the feedback from the riders has been good. It is encouraging to see that our times have not been far from the top group during these tests, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves. This is only testing and we have a long season ahead of us, but it is nice to go to Qatar having made a solid and positive start to 2013. I am looking forward to it.”
Miguel Oliveira’s best lap time of 1’47.548 was the fourth fastest of the final day. The 18 year old from Pragal near Lisbon suffered a small fall in the windy conditions, but was nevertheless pleased with the test. “We have created a good, solid base to start the season,” he said. “This has been a really good start with no problems with the engine and we have not finished developing the bike yet, so I am sure we can make more improvements. What is interesting now is to go to other circuits and work on setting up the bike for those. I can’t wait until Qatar, as racing is different from testing and so only then will we have a true indication of where we are.”
His Spanish team-mate, Efrén Vázquez, echoes Oliveira’s desire to get to Qatar. The 26 year old, explained: “In testing you have four days to produce a lap time, whereas in Qatar we’ll only have four sessions of 40 minutes before the race. We now have a good base and seem to have a good rhythm from our first laps out in each session, so I am looking forward to it. I am very happy with the Mahindra team. We have a good group and we are all very together and motivated. This will be important during the long season ahead. We still have a bit of work to do with the engine and chassis setting, but on the whole this experience has been very positive. I now have a few weeks of solid training to prepare myself physically and mentally for the season.”