Although hopes of a first top-three podium finish were dashed again, the Mahindra pit was all smiles, after the two riders – circulating in close company until the end – showed speed and reliability, and moved Mahindra tantalisingly close to second in the Constructors Championship, just three points away.
The first race of the day at the short and tortuous 3.67-km circuit outside Chemnitz took place in dry conditions, and was a typical Moto3™ thriller from start to finish.
Oliveira was on the front row of the grid for the fourth time this year, but made a poor start, finishing the first lap eighth. Vázquez was right behind him, with a flying start from the third row of the grid.
As the usual top trio of Spaniards moved clear ahead, Vázquez passed his team-mate and the pair started to pick up positions. By the mid-point of the 27-lap race Oliveira was ahead once more, with the white-and-red Mahindras in a four-bike battle for fourth place.
Oliveira took the position with three laps to go, and held off a challenging Alex Marquez. Vázquez was on the Spaniard’s back wheel, but just unable to find a way past.
Oliveira finished 4.98 seconds behind winner Alex Rins; Vázquez less than half-a-second behind him. The Moto3 class now has a summer break, with the next race at Indianapolis on August 18.
Miguel Oliveira finished 4th and said, “I lost concentration at the start and did not get away well, and I was not comfortable in the early part of the race. I lost time with some suspension chatter problems. I found a way to fix it by changing my style a little, but by then it was already very complicated. I concentrated on saving the tyres and finishing the race. Another fourth shows I am constant, and only one point from fifth overall. The bike is really good. I try to be consistent, and always be there fighting.”
Efrén Vázquez finished 6th and said, “It was a difficult race, with the tyre grip going down – but the Mahindra was really good round the series of left-hand corners in the first part of the lap, and I could push hard there. Unfortunately Marquez was faster on the second part of the lap, so although I tried my best I couldn’t overtake on the last lap. Finally I have found a good setting, and the team is working really well. These points are valuable: after the first half of the season I am in the top ten. We are not on the podium yet, but we are getting better all the time.”
Mufaddal Choonia, CEO Mahindra Racing said, “The podium eluded us again today but overall it was a good weekend, with both riders in the top six. Miguel is consistently in the top four, and it is only a matter of time before we see a Mahindra in the top three. I’m very happy with Efrén’s pace: he has just recovered from a fractured collar-bone, and he is back to his old self, in the group fighting for fourth. Almost halfway through the championship they are both in the top ten of the championship, and Mahindra is three points away from second in the constructors’ table. It’s a good way to start the summer break.”