This weekend saw the debut of the entire MotoGP caravan at the Buddh International Circuit, in India, a milstone in the history of motorcycling in what was the 13th round of the MotoGP World Championship. Many adaptation laps, several challenges in the circuit layout and some rain marked the weekend with a learning curve for all riders, including Miguel Oliveira.
Friday of challenges
The Portuguese rider finished in P17 in both training sessions that marked Friday, sessions that were a little longer than usual, anticipating the necessary adaptation of the riders to the new track and the new location of another Grand Prix of MotoGP. From the morning session to the afternoon, Oliveira managed to make a big step and, in the afternoon training, he was 1.556 seconds faster than in the first free training session of the morning.
“Today was a very difficult day, we had more than an hour session in the morning and another in the afternoon. It's not easy to manage, we certainly didn't make maximum effort physically. The morning session was a little complicated to understand where to put the wheels. We tried to do a little more time attacking in the training session, but it was quite challenging in the heat. The track is very technical, there are many braking points where you can't let go too much. Obviously it's a fun track to drive, I especially had fun in the afternoon session and I'm looking forward to tomorrow [Saturday] to take another step forward”, says Miguel Oliveira.
Oliveira crosses the finish line in 12th in the ‘sprint race’
Saturday's rain caused the entire paddock to be stopped for some time to ensure safe track conditions for the riders. For the 'Sprint Race', Miguel Oliveira started from 18th on the starting grid, having achieved an exceptional start, which placed him in P11 after the first lap. Having overtaken when the yellow flag had just been raised, the rider from Charneca de Caparica was forced to give up a position, which made him join a large group of riders and lose a few more positions until P14. With some consistent final laps, he finally saw the checkered flag in P12, after 11 laps of the almost 5 kilometers of the Indian circuit.
“The situation is difficult, we are certainly not able to perform as we expected. There are a lot of slow corners that we need to restart and that isn't helping us much. For some reason, we are not able to be as competitive. It also didn't help that I didn't qualify well for the starting grid. In the Sprint race, I managed to do a little better. But a lot of things happened, I had to give up a position because they told me that I overtook under a yellow flag and I also realized that I was losing oil from the bike, so it wasn't easy today. For tomorrow [Sunday] I want to be competitive and finish in the points with good potential”, says the 28-year-old Portuguese rider enthusiastically.
Race within the points
Both Miguel Oliveira and Raúl Fernandez, CryptoDATA RNF MotogGP Team riders, managed to surpass the team objective, which was to finish the weekend with both riders within the points, with P12 and P10, respectively. Miguel Oliveira fought a little more than his Spanish colleague throughout the weekend. He started from 17th on the grid and was pushed out in the first corner shortly after the start. Even so, he managed to maintain 17th place at the end of the first lap. Over the next few laps, Oliveira made some progress and reached P14 on lap eight, but fell back to P16 again with a mistake two laps later. From then on, Miguel Oliveira rolled his fist, recovered ground and ended up in 12th place, taking home four points in the World Championship.
“It’s probably the first weekend I haven’t been competitive. Anyway, the whole Aprilia had some difficulties this weekend, but I would have liked to have been a little better. We could clearly see where our weaknesses are and where we would need to work and push harder to find solutions, especially the acceleration out of slow corners, which seems to be one of the points we need to focus on. I'm looking forward to changing things a little in Japan and achieving a good performance there”, concludes Oliveira.
Despite some delays and hot and humid temperatures, the Indian GP ended up being a success. Miguel Oliveira finished the weekend within the points, with potential and determination to move on to the next round in Motegi, Japan, in what will be the 14th round of the Championship.