Qatar: Mahindra Racing made a stupendous start to the 2013 season of Moto GP World championship as Miguel Oliveira and Efren Vazquez earned the side 15 points in the Moto3 class by finishing seventh and 10th respectively in an action-packed race.
Riding all new MGP3O, built in just four months before first tests, 18-year-old Portuguese Oliveira and 26-year-old Spaniard Vasquez had qualified fifth and eighth.
Oliveira stayed with the leading five for the early laps, and they were still within sight as he fought back and forth for sixth. He lost it over the line by less than a tenth of a second.
Vazquez was trading blows in an even bigger battle, close behind. Four bikes crossed the line within just over half a second. The Mahindra was second in the group by a breathtaking 0.029 of a second, nonetheless saving tenth place.
Oliveira said their bike had the potential to finish in top-5.
"It is a little bit frustrating when you feel you have the potential to fight for the top five, but in our first race we are very happy to be the first non-KTM bike. This is a big accomplishment for a bike that only came together hardly two months ago. I am really happy about the project and I am looking forward to the future races optimistic that we will be able to improve a lot," Oliveira said.
Vazquez also felt that result could have been better.
"The result is a good surprise for me, but I finish the race a little bit angry because, I think my rhythm was good enough to battle with Miguel. I lost time in the early laps, starting on row three. But finally the team got two really great results in the first race and that is very important for everybody," the Spaniard said.
Team Principal Mufaddal Choonia said, "A very encouraging start, considering that six months ago this bike was still on the drawing board. To see both riders in the top ten is really encouraging. It gives us a good platform to build on. We are so fresh and new into the project, and I am confident that we can really grow from here on."
The next race is in two weeks, at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.