The Portuguese rider from CrytoDATA RNF MotoGP Team had a fantastic Sunday at the British Grand Prix, having achieved his best result of the season, passing the checkered flag in P4, in a race in which he started from 16th position on the starting grid.
Over the 20 laps of this Sunday's race at Silverstone, Miguel Oliveira showed an impressive performance and was the protagonist of a breathtaking recovery, even under some changes in weather conditions.
Friday aiming for Qualifying
Miguel Oliveira entered the weekend quite confident and finally recovered to 100%. Friday morning started with free practice, and with the slight changes in the championship format, only the afternoon session started counting for the Silvertson GP Qualifying, the ninth round of the MotoGP World Championship – a format that will remain until the end of the season.
With the track layout also slightly modified, the Portuguese rider easily managed to adapt during practice and in the afternoon timed session he set the 14th fastest time, which pushed him into Q1 on Saturday.
“I wasn't completely satisfied with today, because I managed to do the ideal lap for Q2, but in the end I couldn't overcome myself. At the same time, I had a new chassis to test and there were positives and negatives in that situation. Going into the 'time attack' I couldn't be fully consistent, which was a shame. But overall we have the potential to go faster, so hopefully tomorrow [Saturday] we can give it our all. It looks like weather conditions are going to be more challenging than today, so the focus will be on getting into the rhythm as quickly as possible”, says Miguel Oliveira referring to the first day of the GP on British soil.
Cold Saturday with persistent rain
Already on Saturday, the rain and cold received the entire MotoGP caravan at the English circuit, and with only 13 degrees of temperature on the track in the morning and persistent rain, the training and qualifying sessions, as well as the 'sprint' race, did not were easy to manage, although the track started to dry out during the 'Sprint' in the afternoon. Still, Miguel Oliveira did his best and showed an impressive recovery during the 10-lap race, even after a minor crash in the weekend's FP2 session.
Having qualified in P16 for the weekend's races, Oliveira found himself limited at the start of the 'Sprint', which gave him a less easy first lap, dropping back to 20th, to recover from there lap by lap. After just two laps, he was back in 16th position and at the end of lap three, the 28-year-old rider was already 12th. With two laps to go, he was 10th and set lap times as fast as the race leader at the end.
“I felt really good today. I made a mistake this morning after crashing in the practice session: I thought it would be a better idea to keep the tyres, which would be ready to start, but they turned out to be too cold because we didn't have enough time to warm them up. I did the whole Q1 on cold tires and I couldn't get enough grip to go faster. It was a pity. The race was good, I was stopped at the start by Brad (Binder) because his tires spun a lot, and when we 'closed' the throttle, everyone passed us. “I fell” to P20, but I recovered well to P10. I made some good overtakes and was fast on the bike, which was good", said the Charneca de Caparica rider.
In Sunday's race, Miguel Oliveira, who started 16th on the grid, quickly gained ground and was already 14th in the first sector and recovered one more position at the end of the first lap. His pace was such that he managed to gain practically a position on every lap, until he was sixth on lap seven. From there it took a few laps to get into the top 5. With eight laps to go, light rain started to fall, which made conditions more complicated. Even so, the Portuguese continued at a great pace and gained four seconds to approach the front group, a group where he fought for P3 with two laps to go and ended up crossing the finish line in fourth position, being the best independent rider in the premier class.
"I'm happy! It's a shame we finished so close to the podium and even more so when I was fighting for third position a few times in the last part of the race, but I'm still happy to start the second part of the season in a good way, the which definitely motivates us to keep going. Our approach continues to be “race by race” and always try to do the best we can. I'm also very happy for Aleix (Espargaró) to have won the race; to have three Aprilias in the top five this track definitely gives us a good feeling", concluded Miguel Oliveira.
In less than two weeks, the MotoGP World Championship heads to Austria for Round 10 of 2023 and the Grand Prix home to CryptoDATA.