The 10th round of the MotoGP World Championship, in Spielberg, Austria, began surrounded by expectations, especially in relation to Miguel Oliveira, whose first victory in the MotoGP premier class took place on Austrian soil, but also due to the rider's potential, always praised and acclaimed, even more so after his return already 100% recovered from the injuries suffered (in previous races) and eager to win.
The weekend got off to a positive start with Miguel Oliveira managing to qualify directly for Q2, but it didn't go so well, since Saturday, during the 'sprint race', the pilot was forced to withdraw from the race, for having been again practically collided by other pilots. On Sunday, Oliveira was unable to complete the 'long' race, due to a mechanical problem on his RS-GP22.
“I was fast over the weekend, but we had a little problem during the [long] race, a strange problem to be honest. It was a very simple detail, but it made me abandon it. The weights that calibrate my front wheel jumped, and as a result I couldn't put too much pressure on the brakes, because of the vibration, and I had to retire because of that”, refers the native rider from Charneca de Caparica.
Direct entry to Q2
In particular, on Friday, Miguel Oliveira did his best to get as close to the top as possible. In the first session, he rode fast and got a P17, although still far from his personal goal. Already in the only Practice Session counting for the qualification, he managed to remain in the top 10 of the best times, having guaranteed direct entry to Q2, the next day.
“Today was a difficult day, but finally positive. I didn't feel like I had the best pace overall, but I managed to do a good time attack and that helped me get into the top 10. I wish I had a little more time to work on the bike, but “it is what it is” and we have to be happy with the results. For tomorrow [Saturday], we are going to try some things to improve and try to be competitive during qualifying and the sprint”, concludes Miguel Oliveira.
Oliveira sandwiched in the Sprint Race
The sunny Saturday held promise in terms of expectations for the CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team and, although Miguel Oliveira and his teammate Raul Fernandez delivered a strong qualifying session and some improvements throughout the morning, luck was not on the team's side in the ' Sprint Race'.
Oliveira set an incredible lap, breaking the 1:29 minute mark to finish just 0.427 seconds behind pole position in eighth position. Starting from the third row of the grid, he was immediately “sandwiched” between his competitors and could not find a way out, when he was touched and removed in the first corner, so he was forced to finish his ‘Sprint Race’.
"From my perspective it's very difficult to understand, I was hit from all sides, I almost fell and I couldn't do more because I was 'sandwiched' in that situation. It's a shame. Today was certainly difficult with the hot temperatures in the afternoon. We really wanted to had an idea of the feeling for tomorrow, but unfortunately we didn't. So there's no better way to prepare for tomorrow, we just need to be open-minded and give everything on track. I'm fine physically, there are no injuries and I'm ready to try again tomorrow", said optimistically the 28-year-old portuguese rider.
On Sunday, the rider from Almada, who started from eighth position, 3rd row on the grid, returned to the CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team pits during the seventh lap, when he was 13th. At the origin of the impossibility of finishing the race was a mechanical problem on his Aprilia RS-GP, which was linked to the lack of calibration of his front wheel.
The next round of MotoGP takes place in the first weekend of September, still on European soil, more precisely in Barcelona, Spain; this will be the 11th MotoGP race of 2023.