Mahindra finish 7th, 12th in Italy

Misano Adriatico (Italy), Sep 16 (IANS) Mahindra riders Miguel Oliveira and Efrén Vázquez finished seventh and 12th at the San Marino and Rimini Riviera Grand Prix, both claiming valuable championship points.

Portugal's Oliveira was confident of a strong top-five result as he held his place in a fierce group disputing fourth, holding his final attack for the closing stages of the 23-lap race around the 4.226 km Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. But even before the halfway stage, he was stricken with painful arm-pump problems that made it an ordeal even to finish.

Despite that the 18-year-old fought to the end, finishing seventh in a tight group of five riders. Although Luis Salom had edged away for fourth by just over half a second, fifth to eighth places were covered by six-tenths.

Spain's Vázquez had a harder job after qualifying on the fifth row. He too was battling for inches in a big gang of Moto3 riders but a gear-shifting error meant the 27-year-old was also not able to fight to his maximum.

Sunday's result brings the only Indian team closer to second overall in the Constructors' Championship, 14 points away from Kalex-KTM.

It was also the first outing for customer Mahindra MGP3O machines, after Ambrogio Racing switched to Mahindra for this race. Brad Binder finished 18th, just out of the points, with teammate Luca Amato 24th, a place ahead of Mahindra wildcard Andrea Locatelli.

The race was won by KTM rider Alex Rins, his fourth in the 12-race-old season. The next round is at Aragon in Spain in two weeks.

"I am quite disappointed. The bike was good, but my race was a real struggle. I suffered from arm-pump with 15 laps to go. The same thing happened to me last year at this track. At the start I could do a great lap times and I was trying not to lose the second group fighting for third. One rider got away but Salom in front was not pushing hard. I was stuck behind him but when my arm stiffened, I couldn't defend or attack," said Oliveira.

Vazquez said that the race was the hardest of the season for him.

"That was the hardest race of the season for me and it is a shame because the Mahindra and I had the pace for a better result, to finish at least in top-10. What made it impossible was I made some mistakes shifting, and sometimes I arrived at a corner in the wrong gear, which was dangerous," said the Spaniard.

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