Mahindra back to Europe to build on results
Following its best-ever results in the opening two races in Qatar and the USA, the only Indian team in motorcycle grand prix racing is ready to keep on building its performance as the European season begins at Jerez this weekend (May 3-5).
Mahindra’s new riders and the brand-new Mahindra MGP3O machine have not only achieved double points in the two season-opening “flyaways”, but also recorded the marque’s first top-five finish.
That was achieved at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas the weekend before last, when Miguel Oliveira (18, from Portugal) claimed a fighting fifth, gaining two places on the final lap. A fortnight earlier Miguel was seventh in Qatar, and he places fifth overall in the points in the very competitive Moto3 class.
Team-mate Efrén Vázquez (26, from Spain) claimed tenth and 14th places, securing an impressive full house of points for the team.
This was close to the perfect introduction for the new MGP3O racer, barely six months after the project was initiated, following intensive work by Mahindra engineers and Suter Racing, their partners in the project. The reward for the midnight hours is plain to see. Not only has the new bike been remarkably free from teething troubles, it is highly competitive even in its relatively undeveloped prototype form.
Nothing can be taken for granted in the Moto3 maelstrom, but team spirits are high for the third of 17 races on the calendar. Unlike the previous two circuits, Jerez lacks long straights and offers complex corner sets – which should play to the strengths of the MGP3O’s sweet-handling chassis.
Indian auto-industry giant Mahindra is the first from the sub-continent to participate in grand prix racing, and the team’s third year shows strong progress.
“I think we can be strong and competitive at Jerez. We have a lot of information from pre-season tests, so we can be a little more confident of our chances compared to the previous races. It won’t be easy, but I am hoping for another good result. The goal is to be consistent and fighting in the top six every weekend, and after only two races we are already doing that. This project is very new, and we can only get stronger.”
“This is the first of three home Spanish races for me, so you can be sure I will be trying my hardest. I was a little bit disappointed after the Texas race, because all weekend I couldn’t find a good feeling with the front tyre. To be closer to Miguel I need to solve this problem. That will be my first target at Jerez; the second to make sure Mahindra gets both bikes in the points again.”