Mahindra Racing fans rejoice! After improving by leaps and bounds with every performance this year, the team has finally found its way up to pole position at Assen thanks to Miguel Oliveira, the team's teenaged Portuguese sensation. It is the first time an Indian team has achieved this feat in motorcycle grand prix racing, and also the first time in the age of four-stroke motors for Mahindra.
With rain clouds looming large, Oliveira put in a quick lap time first up, but was overshadowed by other riders in due course of time, being pushed to 5th spot on the grid. Not the one to give up, Oliveira fired up the MGP3O once again, and then recorded a lap that could only be equalled, but not beaten, which meant that this was his best-ever qualifying performance for Mahindra, eclipsing the second place finish at Le Mans.
Speaking after the session, Oliveira said, “Yesterday 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. 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 race will be very difficult, you never know what can happen in big groups of riders, but I will give it everything I have.”
Can Mahindra Racing convert this pole into a victory? We won't have to wait too long to find out.