Points for Mahindra, but more work ahead
Mahindra MGP3O rider Miguel Oliveira rode a dogged race to 12th in today’s French GP, holding pressing rivals at bay for the full 23 laps to ensure yet another finish in the championship points for the only Indian manufacturer in World Championship motorcycle racing.
With team-mate Arthur Sissis just two places out of the points in 17th, his best finish in a troubled first season with Mahindra, the pair were joined by two more customer Mahindras in the top 20, with Brad Binder 14th and Bryan Schouten 19th. The position adds another four points to Oliveira’s score, which opened with a fine fourth place in the first round in Qatar. The Portuguese rider has scored points at every round bar one, where an early problem meant he was unable to start.
The points are welcome to the Mahindra team, and the results show the MGP3O’s evident strength, in the viciously competitive Moto3 class, where rival manufacturers field closely matched 250cc four-stroke single-cylinder bikes. Although the overall result fell short of Mahindra’s goals, the positive side is the experience gained with the 2014 MGP3O, with Le Mans giving the team valuable pointers towards areas for further attention.
Tests after the last round in Spain had already improved some areas, but race development is a constant work in progress, and every race a fresh chance to benefit from new ideas.
Today’s race, at the Bugatti circuit at the historic Le Mans venue, was typically hard fought, and won at the last gasp by Australian points leader Jack Miller (KTM).
The next round is the Italian GP in two weeks; and the Mahindra squad will be focused on refining the speed and overall performance of the machine, for one of the fastest tracks of the year.
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – 12th position
The race was quite hard. We know we have a lot of work to do. The bike has some strong points, but there are some other things that are really difficult to solve. We have improved so much since last year, but also the other factories have made a big step. We’re all giving 100 percent, I’m glad to finish the race, and I’m still physically 100 percent, so we have to keep pushing to develop new things, and get closer to our goal.
ARTHUR SISSIS – 17th position
I’m not satisfied. My start was pretty bad, and when you are so far back on the grid that makes it even worse. I struggled to pass some slower riders, and once I got by I could do my own pace … but by then the next group was too far ahead. I need to qualify better.
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO Mahindra Racing
It is the first time we’ve had four Mahindras in the top 20, but of course we need to get much better positions. We have identified a few areas to work on in the next ten days before the Mugello race, and we will be doing that. It’s good to see the pace of our customer teams improve, and we hope the entire Mahindra family can benefit as we continue development of the MGP3O.