Crash ends storming weekend for Mahindra
A crash while fighting for top positions on a tricky wet-and-dry Le Mans circuit brought a strong weekend to a premature close for the only Indian team in motorcycle Grand Prix racing.
Mahindra rider Miguel Oliveira had qualified the Mahindra MGP3O second-fastest, and was lying fifth and fighting hard in a tight-packed group of six disputing the lead on the fourth of 24 laps of the 4.185-km Bugatti circuit at Le Mans.
As they began the fifth lap, into the very fast first corner, the white-and-red Mahindra was pushed to the edge of the track, and the teenager from Portugal was down. He was unhurt, but unable to restart.
Second rider Efrén Vázquez did not start, returning to Spain for surgery after suffering a fractured collar-bone in a crash in free practice.
The race was won by Spanish KTM rider Maverick Vinales. The next round is the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in two weeks. Vázquez will be fighting for fitness to join Oliveira at the race, the fifth of 17 World Championship rounds in the Moto3 class.
The MGP3O was designed and built over the winter, taking barely six months from conception to execution. The Mahindra team has had at least one if not both riders in the top-ten of every race so far, with a best of fifth for Oliveira at Austin in Texas.
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – Did Not Finish
“Another rider tried to pass me on the straight, so I moved a little to the outside. It seems it was not a good idea – it must have been a bit damp. I lost grip on the front and slid off. Overall though it was a good weekend, and we made a step forward. We mustn’t lose focus for these small things. Now we must think of Mugello, and if we can keep running like this we are making good progress.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – Mahindra Racing CEO
“Firstly, I would like to wish Efrén well for a speedy recovery after his surgery. As for the race, it was a bit of an anticlimax after such a promising weekend, and such good results for our brand-new bike from the start. But the positives are good – the potential of the bike, the potential of the rider and the potential of the team. This project is still in its very early stages and we had a lot of success early on. Now we continue to the next race, and keep positive.”