Mahindra make their mark
Miguel Oliveira won the first podium of the season for the Mahindra team at the Netherlands Grand Prix – confirming the progress made by the Indian Moto3.
After two fourth places in Qatar and Mugello, at Assen Miguel Oliveira scored his best result of the season by finishing the eighth leg of the championship on the third step of the podium. For a long time second behind Marquez, the Mahindra rider was overtaken by Rins a few hundred meters from the finishing line. Arthur Sissis was less successful, taking the chequered flag in twenty-first place, as was Livio Loi, who finished twenty-fifth in his first race aboard a KTM. In Moto2, Mika Kallio also had a good day, making it to the podium in difficult conditions since the race was held on a drying track. Struggling early in the race, the Marc VDS rider was able to increase the pace as the laps went by to fight it out with West and Viñales. Although he qualified for pole position, Tito Rabat had to part settle for eighth place. The championship leader took no risks after falling during the formation lap. “There were a lot of falls, the track was very slippery, and I wanted at all costs to make it to the finish,” said Michael Bartholemy’s protégé to explain his performance. In the MotoGP class, the race was held in even more appalling conditions, with Stefan Bradl finishing tenth after also falling in the formation lap.
Despite finishing tenth, Stefan Bradl keeps his eighth place in the MotoGP championship. The LCR rider even benefitted from the retirement of Pol Espargaro to reduce the Spaniard’s lead to two points. In Moto2, Rabat and Kallio remain firmly entrenched in the first two places in the overall standings while in Moto3, Oliveira has moved up to eighth place. Livio Loi has dropped back to seventeenth place.
The Mahindra team had not made it to the podium since the Malaysian Grand Prix in October 2013. Miguel Oliveira ended the drought by finishing in third place in the Moto3 Grand Prix of the Netherlands, in a race that Muffadal Choonia will not forget for a long time. The President of Mahindra Racing especially liked the aggressiveness of his Portuguese rider who only surrendered the second place in the race to Alex Rins in the last lap. “Miguel was fantastic,” he said. “We were disappointed by his thirteenth place after the qualifying sessions, because we knew that his potential was much greater than that, and he proved it in the race. Last year at Assen, we took pole position and finished fourth. The circuit is called the “cathedral of speed” and it seems to suit us down to the ground.” It is worth noting that the Mahindra MGP03 has made great progress since the start of the season. “We have significantly increased the engine’s performance after improving the reliability of the transmission which was causing us problems,” said Andrea Dosoli, one of the technicians for the Indian manufacturer. Faced with Honda and the other factory KTMs, the tiny Mahindra team intends to keep up the momentum. “The result will be a great source of motivation for the rest of the season,” added Miguel Oliveira.