At just 18 years, Oliveira himself was astonished at his performance. After the race, he admitted on video that he didn’t expect a podium finish, especially after having a week start earlier that day. Though Oliveira qualified on the second row with his Mahindra Racing 250 cc single cylinder bike, he found himself at behind 32 riders at the end of turn 1. He was fast to pick up speed and finished the first lap in 14th position. Following are the quotes after the race.
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – Third Place
“After the start I made I didn’t expect the podium! I knew I could do it, but I had to recover a lot of time, and take a lot of risks in the first laps, in the braking areas and also with corner speed. This is not easy on the tyres, so in the last laps it was really hard to control the bike. I think Mahindra and the team deserve this podium, and I think more. With the end of the championship coming up the leading riders will feel the pressure, and we can try to take advantage of that.
“Phillip Island is a nice track, where you don’t need so much engine power. It’s always windy, and it depends on the compromise you can make with the frame and on aerodynamics, my position on the bike. There are a lot of long corners and banked corners and also hard braking, and I can gain time there. I was second there last year, so I’m looking forward to going back.”
EFRÉN VÁZQUEZ – Did Not Finish
“I had a good start and I was trying to push from the beginning. This is a difficult track because the other bikes are much slower on corner entry, they block the way so you lose speed on the straights. I was trying to brake a little harder to gain places, and I lost the front wheel. It was a little crash, but unfortunately something on the bike broke, and I couldn’t restart.
“We’ll see in the next race: I think Phillip Island should be good for Mahindra – our bike is very good in fast corners.”
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO, Mahindra Racing
“This is a red-letter day in Indian motor sport history – the first time ever that a motorcycle developed by an Indian company has finished on the podium at the highest level of motor sport. I sincerely congratulate and appreciate the efforts of Miguel and the entire Mahindra Racing team, who played a leading part in creating this moment of racing history.
“Now the next goal: we look forward to winning grand prix races.”
About Mahindra Racing
Mahindra Racing is the first Indian team to participate in the FIM MotoGPTM World Motorcycle Racing Championship in 2011 and the Italian National Motorcycle Racing Championship (CIV) in 2012.
Racing in the Moto3TM class in MotoGP, Mahindra Racing entered the 2013 season with its own new 4- stroke, single-cylinder, 250cc motorcycle: the Mahindra MGP3O, developed with experienced Swiss firm Suter Racing Technology AG. Experienced Spanish rider Efrén Vázquez (26, from Bilbao) is teamed with exciting Portuguese teenager Miguel Oliveira (18, from Pragal near Lisbon). At the opening round in Qatar, the duo finished with a best-ever double Top 10 result for the only Indian team in Grand Prix motorcycle racing. In Round 2 in Austin, Oliveira finished a superlative fifth while Vázquez claimed 14th place. Celebrating a third successive top ten finish in Round 3 at Jerez, Vázquez claimed eighth place. At Round 4 in Le Mans, Oliveira secured a front row start by qualifying second.