There are three races in which Miguel Oliveira confirmed his competitiveness by bringing his KTM to the podium: second in Italy, victorious in Barcelona, and again second on the Sachsenring German circuit. The Portuguese rider is one of the new riders in the championship and, even if he’s currently only in seventh place in the championship at -57 points behind Quartararo, he’s undoubtedly a rider to keep an eye on. In fact, he had a fantastic race on the tortuous German track and chased Marquez till the end.
“Yes, I’m very satisfied with the result. The crucial moment was when it started to rain. Marc is very good at adapting immediately to the track conditions and, at that moment, he increased his advantage,” Miguel acknowledged. “I tried to chase him until the last stages of the race but, by then, I had worn out the tires too much and, when he started to push again, keeping that second and a half advantage, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to catch up with him. At that point, I thought that a second place would still be an excellent result, and I decided to avoid unnecessary risks and bring the bike back to the garage, ending the race. The beginning of the season was difficult, but now that I have three podiums in a row, I feel more optimistic. Obviously, it’s too early to think about winning the championship. There are still many races to go, and every opportunity must be taken advantage of.”
The development of your KTM has never stopped, but it seems like you too feel increasingly at ease on the bike with each race.
“At the beginning of the championship, we couldn’t find a solution to our situation. Then, thanks also to the new members of the development team, things improved. I think we did a great job, and Pedrosa’s work was also essential in understanding how to get the most out of every single component that, in a championship with such a competitive grid, has really made a difference. As a rider, I was also able to get this potential out of the bike, so I’d say that we’ve taken a decisive step forward compared to the first races.”
In the past few races, you’ve given excellent results showing that you are competitive. What do you feel when you think about the start of the championship?
“I’m the kind of person who prefers to look forward to the future rather than the past, and I think it’s also the right way to approach this championship. It was tough at first, but maybe without those difficulties that push you out of your comfort zone, I wouldn’t be here now. Obviously, the latest excellent results do not mean that we won’t continue to work hard. We’ll try to continue to get podiums and points to move up the rankings. At the moment, however, I’m less focused on the mathematics of points in the standings and more on continuing to improve race after race.”
Do you think this additional positive result could be the beginning of many others, and that we could already see you competitive again in Assen?
“It's hard to say. I obviously hope so. We had a hard time at Assen in 2019. It’s one of those tracks where we have little experience with these bikes, but it won’t be easy. The Yamahas have always done well on that track. We’ll need this podium to motivate us to give it our all both in Assen and in the upcoming races.”
How much did the presence of your former team manager, Aki Ajo, affect your career?
“Aki has a very particular way of communicating. I was lucky enough to work with him for a few years, and he’s the kind of person who gets along best with those who work hard. He’s played a pivotal role in my career, and I’m happy that he’ll remain with KTM in the years to come, to continue bringing out new talented riders.”