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MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira: "I have the same desire to win as Cristiano Ronaldo"

"I had too many ups and downs last season, and my injured wrist limited me. There will be innovations on the KTM, but we can make a difference with the set-up."

MotoGP: Miguel Oliveira: "I have the same desire to win as Cristiano Ronaldo"

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It was a different winter than usual for Miguel Oliviera, his first as a dad. In fact, last November Alice was born, and the KTM rider had to juggle training and diapers. "I think I managed the situation well,” he smiled. “My goal was to spend as much time as possible with my two girls because we have a long season ahead, but I also trained hard."

You also had time to star in a commercial with Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal.
 "I’m proud to be the only Portuguese rider in the world championship. It’s something special. Of course, I’m still far from obtaining the same results as Cristiano, but I have the same desire as he does."

What do you need to improve in this 2022?
 "Above all, consistency in performance. Last season, in two key moments, in the second GP in Austria and Misano, I didn't get the results I could have achieved. Finishing the races weighs a lot at the end of the season, so I have to improve. Going at your  limit and not falling is never easy but, in 2021, I had too many ups and downs. When I got on well with the bike, I was really fast, otherwise, I didn’t do well. It’s easy to say in words, but to do it, I’ll have to feel comfortable on the bike, as if I were at home. The winter tests will be important to succeed."

Are you expecting a very different RC16?
 "There will certainly be some innovation, but I think we still have to work on the set-up. We have room for improvement in that area,  to find the speed and consistency we need. I don't know, however, if five days of testing, three of which on a new track, will be sufficient."

Who do you fear among your rivals?
 "In the second half of last season, many raised the bar, especially Ducati. I think we can make some small changes on our bike that will lead us to improve. In 2021, the results didn’t reflect our progress. Of course, the perfect bike doesn’t exist. We always have to work, but I feel confident."

Is your wrist completely healed?
 "Now, yes, but that injury didn't help me. After the summer break, in Austria, I didn’t have major problems but, in Silvestone, I understood when it was limiting me – I had finished the race out of the points – and that it would take time. It was a challenge from a mental point of view, because I wanted to do certain things but I couldn't. The data showed that I wasn't riding well and, when that's the case, it's very easy to start from the back in the MotoGP. Everything becomes frustrating, because it’s not easy to recover. You make mistakes and see your chances of achieving a good result disappear."

There was also a lot of talk last year about KTM's problems with the new softer front tire.
 "I'm not sure it's our biggest problem, but it sure is a problem. I’m very sensitive to changes in tire pressure and temperature. We have to find a solution so that we can push and brake like we want."

Sterlacchini is now technical director. Will that help?
 "He was an excellent purchase for us. I think he’ll help us, but he needs time. He's figuring out what the bikes and riders need, then he’ll have to put everything into practice. We met in Austria in June and August. I like him because he listens to the riders a lot."

The Tech3 team will include Fernandez and Gardner.
 "KTM has taken on the two strongest Moto2 riders. For Raul, it’s easier to reach the limit, and I think he’ll be fast from the start. It’ll be nice for everyone. The faster the other riders are, the more you learn."

After 2020, the KTM seems ready to fight for the title. What are the objectives now?
 "You have to grow, step by step. Many things can happen in one season. For now, I’m focused on being more constant. After the first half of the season, we’ll see what our position will be."

 

Translated by Leila Myftija

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