Qatar: Mahindra Racing rider Miguel Oliveira missed podium in the season-opening race by just by 0.015 seconds as he settled for a fourth place in the Qatar Grand Prix in the Moto3 class in Moto GP championship, here.
In a thrilling climax to a tense opening race under floodlights at the Losail circuit, the first five riders crossed the finish line within 0.369 of a second, and the leader of the next group just two-tenths behind.
Oliveira, who claimed the only Indian manufacturer in MotoGP?s first podium last season, had qualified on the fourth row, but showed his race-craft as he got away with the leading group, then gradually picked his way to the front of a high-class gang disputing third.
By the finish they had all closed up and the fight was for the lead. Oliveira was third as they came onto the long finishing straight, but with five riders all slipstreaming and fighting for advantage, he narrowly lost the position over the line.
New Mahindra rider Arthur Sissis was forced to withdraw from his first race for the team, after suffering a savage attack of tonsillitis. Still suffering in morning warm-up, the team withdrew the Australian before the start.
Mahindra fields not only two MGP3O machines in the official team, but this year also six more machines supplied to private teams. The best finisher was Brad Binder, securing a point in a fighting 15th place.
"To be honest, I didn?t expect this result. I always felt confident on the bike but I was having some problems in one section, and qualifying on the fourth row was pretty bad.
"I was hoping to get away with the front group, and from the start I just tried to keep up, to wait and see what would happen at the end. On the last lap I tried everything, but with this long straight it was very hard to get the podium. But it was a crazy race, and I am happy with my performance," Oliveira said.