Oliveira puts Mahindra Racing on Moto3 pole

Assen (The Netherlands), June 28 (IANS) Portuguese teenager Miguel Oliveira claimed the first pole position for the all new Mahindra Racing in the four-stroke Moto3 Championships here Friday.

In windy and cloudy conditions, Oliveira put in a fast lap early on to put his name at the top of the charts in case the track should become wet. It stayed dry, and with ten minutes remaining, the usual stars moved forward, pushing the Mahindra rider to fifth position.

However, it was not enough for Oliveira. Knowing his bike’s potential was higher, he went out again for a blazing last run that put him back on top.

Later in the session, another rider equalled his time but nobody could beat it. Oliveira takes the prime starting position for the first time in his career. His previous best was a second position at Le Mans earlier this year.

Team-mate Efren Vazquez qualified 17th. The Spaniard is still nursing painful collarbone injuries that were aggravated by a small spill in the morning free practice.

The first Moto3 pole underlines the strong debut of the Mahindra MGP3O, designed and built within six months, and track-tested for the first time less than six months ago.

The 250cc four-stroke grand prix racer has proved both competitive and reliable from first shake-down tests, and recent performance upgrades have further strengthened its performance in the hotly contested Moto3 class.

Mahindra claimed a pole position during the two-stroke years, when Danny Webb put the 125cc machine in first position in wet qualifying at Valencia in 2011. This is the first achieved in dry conditions, with either type of machine.

“Yesterday (Thursday), we had some ideas of how to change the setting of the machine for better handling and direction changes, but this morning conditions were very bad so there was no chance to verify them,” said Oliveira.

“In the afternoon however, they seemed to work. It was a good qualifying, and I think we deserved this first pole. The bike is performing very well, with no weak areas.

“Tomorrow’s (Saturday) race will be very difficult, you never know what can happen in big groups of riders, but I will give it everything I have.”

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