When not world champion, Miguel Oliveira has the greatest track record of any Portuguese rider at world level. He is in fact the first to win in each of the three categories and has four wins in MotoGP alongside a runner-up title, as well as six wins in Moto3 and six wins in Moto2. Having already marked the history of his country, he sees himself crowned with an imperceptible aura from France, but nonetheless very important.
Its rise, which has been widely publicized, has attracted many sponsors who have launched large advertising campaigns to make Oliveira known to Mr. and Mrs. Everyone. “Right now it’s hard enough to avoid me”he commented with a smile on the official MotoGP website.
“It’s not that I’m not comfortable, but I don’t see myself as a superstar or a popular person, but I certainly took one [certaine] Place for the fans and the Portuguese, a very recognizable place. People appreciate that I carry the flag in the championship and I’m at the top. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a consequence of what we do and in the end, with this popularity, I feel a little privileged to be the only one to receive this endorsement. Portuguese fans are incredible. I’ve watched the community grow and grow over the years. In Portugal, MotoGP takes on another dimension.”
If Oliveira is at the top today, nothing was gained at the start in a country that has little affinity with motorcycling and consequently very few Portuguese riders with whom young people can identify. Miguel Praia, who competed in the Superbike World Championship in 2004 and 2005 before moving to Supersport but without counting wins or podiums, was part of it when Oliveira was a kid.
“I started having this dream of becoming like him and getting there because he was the most successful Portuguese rider in the World Championship. I saw him but I really wanted to go to MotoGP because it was the pinnacle and I really wanted to be there wanted. but it was so far away. It felt like a huge dream that you could only think about in bed because you never felt like it could get any closer.he explained.
A championship and a contributing team
Miguel Oliveira at the 2019 Oliveira Cup
Having reached the premier class, the number 88 now hopes to pave the way for young people who dream of following in her footsteps but find many doors closed due to the lack of motorsport development in Portugal. In 2017 he founded the Oliveira Cup with his father to train aspiring pilots and allow them to reach national and international championships, which has happened to 17 of them.
Stopped in 2020, it gave way to a new project, that of a full-fledged team that started last year in both the Portuguese National Speed Championship and the Spanish Superbike Championship.
“Through our team in Portugal and the Oliveira Cup that has now ended, we have given this opportunity to almost 200 children, almost all of whom are now competing in the Portuguese championships. It brings pride but also responsibility because they want to look at me and drive like me. It’s pretty cool to be making that contribution.”he added.
“I hope that somehow my presence in the World Championship and my commitment off the track will have an impact that opens doors and opportunities for young people who are old enough to call themselves and go to the World Championship. I want them to be able to, and for companies to bet on them and help them find money to drive. I want the motorcycling world to be more a part of Portuguese culture and Portuguese companies.”
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