Assen (The Netherlands): Mahindra rider and pole sitter Miguel Oliveira crossed the finishing line in fourth place in the Moto3 Championship here Saturday.
The Portuguese teenager, who started from his and the MGP3O’s first pole position, had the consolation of a lap record at the classic circuit. It came during a sustained long battle, with five riders inches apart from start to finish, and the result in doubt until the exit from the final corner.
Oliveira was in the thick of the action up front. Spanish team-mate Efrén Vázquez was 12th, playing a strong role in a ten-strong group going back and forth for a possible ninth place.
The result moves Oliveira closer to fifth overall, where he is now just three points adrift; and also improves Mahindra’s close third in the constructors’ championship.
The Mahindra MGP3O was designed and built in less than six months, and track-tested for the first time in January. The bike proved both competitive and reliable even in first prototype form; subsequent upgrades have reinforced its potential. Mahindra is the only Indian factory motorcycle racing team.
“It was a really difficult race, as I expected, and the wind played a hard hand as well. I was losing in the second sector - I had to work hard to recover that every lap under brakes and in the corners. I tried to attack in the last lap but I couldn’t quite reach the podium. But it is coming really close. What is really important is the bike improves race by race, and I am also feeling better. We need to keep it this way," said Oliveira.