Mahindra battles for race win at Silverstone
Mahindra MGP3O rider Miguel Oliveira missed a second top-three podium finish of the season by a hair’s breadth – just five hundredths of a second – after battling through from a third-row start to join a four-strong breakaway group fighting for the lead of the Moto3 race in a breathtakingly exciting finale to the British GP.
Oliveira was up to fifth by the mid-point of the race, with a group of more than 15 bikes jostling for position. On lap 11 of the 17-lap race he took the lead. From there the elite of the smallest class battled over every inch of the 5.9-km Silverstone circuit, crossing the line all but four abreast.
Although fourth, Miguel was just 0.123 of a second behind race winner Alex Rins’s Honda. They had left the rest of the pack trailing in their battle to the flag.
Second official Mahindra team rider Andrea Migno had qualified an impressive 21st in his first GP with the team, but retired while running in the top 20 in the early stages after a minor spill.
For the only Indian manufacturer in world championship racing, it was yet more proof of the growing strength and maturity of the machine. The official Mahindra team fields two MGP3Os, but there are six more customer bikes – the best of them today Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder, 15th.
The Mahindra now holds its own against rival machines from Honda and KTM, and a strategic step forward underlines this status. Earlier in the weekend, Mahindra Racing announced that it will disband its official team at the end of the season, having fulfilled the task of establishing the marque and developing the machine. Today’s result proved that Mahindra is ready to take this next step up the racing ladder.
From next year, in the same practice adopted by its Moto3 rivals, Mahindra Racing will give more focus to further developing the Mahindra MGP3O machine that it supplies to its customer teams, including the successful Aspar team, rather than running under its own auspices.
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – Fourth place
“Emotions are difficult after a race like this, as I can’t help but be very, very disappointed for me and the team to have missed out on the podium. However, it was a great race – a lot of fun. The bike was going well and we were right there, so I can be happy for that. I felt very comfortable and the bike was particularly good on the brakes, where I could make up a lot of time on the others. Unfortunately, there was just nothing more I could do on the last lap. The team is doing a great job and we are so close now. We’ll try again in Misano.”
ANDREA MIGNO – Did Not Finish
“I slid off on the third lap when I changed down a gear and I went down. I was going well in the second group and I could definitely keep the pace. It is a very disappointing way to finish the weekend as it has been a great experience. I think I was doing a good job. So it is a real shame that we have nothing to show for it.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO, Mahindra Racing
“The podium has just eluded us once again, but our disappointment is all the more because it wasn’t just the podium today. Miguel led the race on a number of occasions and was so close to victory at the end. But, as always, we learn from these experiences and we’ll come back stronger in Misano, confident that our bike is now right up there and capable of fighting for our first win. It really shows the strength of our package on a weekend where we announced that we’ll put even more effort into machine development with a slight change in our strategy. We’ll focus on close partnerships with our customer teams from 2015, including the Aspar Team, rather than running our own team. It is a change that we hope will see a number of Mahindra riders up there competing with each other for race wins on a regular basis.
“As for our new rider, Andrea Migno, the whole team has been impressed with his attitude, speed and work this weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a fairy-tale ending for him in the race, but he will have learned a lot, and he looks very promising.”