Miguel Oliveira will no longer be an official KTM rider next year as his handlebars have been handed over to Jack Miller, but he still has the option to continue riding for the Austrian brand by joining the ranks of the Tech3 satellite team. If he doesn’t seem to favor that option at the moment and is now looking more towards RNF, the Portuguese will be looking to give it his all until the end of the season and hope to find the path to victory.
He is indeed the one who has brought KTM the most success to date in MotoGP since he has four, versus two for teammate Brad Binder, and the last dates back to the start of the season in Indonesia. Since then, he’s only landed a single top 5 and manages to do it “hardly” finish in the top 10 with four consecutive ninth places in recent Grands Prix.
“I only go to the weekends to win. I know it’s not possible most of the time, but we have to learn to manage our expectations.”he told the official MotoGP website. “Results aside, we never give up, we keep attacking even if we qualify 16th or 15th. We are always ambitious and we want to be good in the race because we drive and we want to get better. […] It’s sometimes difficult to get people to understand that it’s more complex than that.”
Precisely qualifying is KTM’s real weak point and both riders and managers have been aware since the beginning of the season that they have to find a solution as overtaking in the race is becoming more and more complicated and incredible lifts are difficult to achieve until now.
“Of course we would like to do better, but when you drive so much at the limit and at the same time try to be as fast as possible, it’s quite difficult. So there’s no window for us where we can say a moment to breathe, race and get a good result.”he added. “It’s very tough in this category, everything depends on the placement in qualifying. Even if you’re much faster in pace, you can’t go up because it’s super difficult to overtake, the temperature and tire pressure go up beforehand, and all those factors make for difficult races. That is pure reality.”
“Sometimes you take a little more risk, sometimes a little less and the result doesn’t really change. Barcelona were a clear example of that. I tried to pass Brad but I widened in the first corner and he was ready that I thought maybe I could push to be two and a half or three tenths faster but I ended up in the gravel and the result didn’t really change, it’s hard to judge and accept because I know I can fight for much better positions .”he admitted.
The cautious strategy
Miguel Oliveira at the Dutch GP
Despite the hard work of the KTM clan, the situation hasn’t really changed. After very good first races, Oliveira and Binder are now fighting for a place in the top 10. The mistake is also due to a development that took their time and suspected a lack of new parts. KTM has chosen a cautious strategy compared to manufacturers such as Ducati or Aprilia, who are always trying new things.
“Of course it’s very easy now to say that maybe it wasn’t the right strategy, but it was obviously important for the project leaders to understand the problems of the bike and analyze what could be next, rather than constantly bringing gear that they really wanted to find out what could really degrade on the bike. I think it’s also a learning process for them.”
“This sport is not easy, it is in constant evolution and not only can we take into account ourselves, we have opponents who progress every season and apparently many and it is sometimes difficult to follow the pace. Even if we do would be careful, it’s maybe the most accurate, it was the best strategy for us to move forward.”
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