Mahindra inches from podium at Assen
Mahindra rider Miguel Oliveira was just inches from scoring the only Indian racing motorcycle’s historic first podium at Assen today, crossing the line in fourth place just 0.096 seconds from third, and 0.378 behind the leader.
The Portuguese teenager, who started from his and the MGP3O’s first pole position, had the consolation of the lap record at the classic circuit, scored on lap 12 of the 22-lap, 99.924-km Dutch TT. It came during a sustained race-long battle, with five riders inches apart from start to finish, and the result in doubt until the exit from the final corner.
Oliveira was in the thick of the action up front. Spanish team-mate Efrén Vázquez was 12th, playing a strong role in a ten-strong group going back and forth for a possible ninth place.
The result moves Oliveira closer to fifth overall, where he is now just three points adrift; and also improves Mahindra’s close third in the constructors’ championship.
The Mahindra MGP3O was designed and built in less than six months, and track-tested for the first time in January. The bike proved both competitive and reliable even in first prototype form; subsequent upgrades have reinforced its potential. Mahindra is the only Indian factory motorcycle racing team.
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – Fourth Place
“It was a really difficult race, as I expected, and the wind played a hard hand as well. I was losing in the second sector – I had to work hard to recover that every lap under brakes and in the corners. I tried to attack in the last lap but I couldn’t quite reach the podium. But it is coming really close. What is really important is the bike improves race by race, and I am also feeling better. We need to keep it this way.”
EFRÉN VÁZQUEZ – 12th Place
“It was a difficult day and not what we expected. Something happened in the race and I was losing time. I am not sure what: we need to check all the data, but at one point I was quite slow. There was a lot of traffic, which is normal in this class, but it means you can get stuck behind a rider who is half-a-second slower, and you can do nothing. The most important thing is to concentrate on qualifying better.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO Mahindra Racing
“Again we have shown that the combination of Miguel and the Mahindra has the potential for podium finishes. There is practically nothing separating the top five riders, and he is one of them. We are also delighted to take the lap record at Assen, and we can go away satisfied and happy, looking forward to the German Grand Prix in two weeks.”