The Portuguese CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team rider Miguel Oliveira did not have a linear weekend at the Mandalika Circuit in Indonesia. Oliveira, as usual, gave his all throughout the three days of the Grand Prix, and especially in Sunday's race in extremely hot weather conditions on the island of Lombok. Still, the Portuguese finished within the points.
Direct ticket to Q2
The Indonesian Grand Prix kicked off on Friday in warm sunshine at the picturesque Mandalika Circuit. Miguel Oliveira, who won the GP last year on this same circuit, which was debuting as part of the MotoGP World Championship, had a promising first day. Despite having a crash in the first FP of the day, the Portuguese rider from Charneca de Caparica managed to be 2.248 seconds faster in the afternoon training session, having held P7 in the general classification, which guaranteed him direct access to Q2 , for the following day (Saturday).
"Today was good, finally on the last lap with the soft tires behind I was able to feel strong. There were a lot of yellow flags and I was getting impatient to get my lap. But in the end I managed to do a clean lap. Honestly, I didn't know if it was enough, but I'm happy to move into Q2. We still have some work to do tomorrow morning [Saturday], especially on the pace. Mandalika's layout suits many aspects of our bike, I just need to enjoy it; also I think I can be closer to the factory riders than I am now and that's the goal", said the 28-year-old driver.
Hot and humid Saturday gives Oliveira P12 on the grid
Saturday's day on the Indonesian island of Lombok was quite hot and humid, which meant demanding conditions in this, the 15th round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Miguel Oliveira recorded another drop in practice on Saturday morning, which didn't help him get the most out of the session. Still, direct entry to Q2 was guaranteed. In Q2, Miguel Oliveira managed to lower his times from Friday, although he remained in P12 by a thread, due to some yellow flags and other situations that did not allow him to perform a decent lap. The Portuguese thus started the Sprint in P12, racing away, running in ninth place only after the 4th lap, but had to give up a position two laps later. Oliveira managed to raise his Aprilia to 10th and was out of the points for just one second.
"We definitely took a step forward during today's Sprint race compared to qualifying this morning [Saturday]. I felt better on the bike in the race. For tomorrow [Sunday], I'm confident, I just have to get a good start and gain as many positions as possible from the first lap", commented the Portuguese rider with confidence.
Oliveira within the points of the main race
Miguel Oliveira started from P12 on the starting grid. He achieved his usual "cannon start", immediately placing eighth. He managed to gain a position on the second lap and four laps later he was already fighting for sixth position. In a large group competing for the best points, he lost a few meters on lap 10 and unfortunately on lap 11 he had to open his path a lot due to another rider on the track, having lost some positions. In P16, and five seconds away from being within the points, Miguel Oliveira clenched his fist and fought until the end, crossing the checkered flag in 12th position.
"This week has been difficult. Certainly some of the adjustments we made to the bike helped us understand the feeling I need to ride better, but we discovered that a little late after qualifying, but there have still been some positives since I was able to get in. in Q2. The race pace yesterday [Saturday] wasn't that bad with the soft rear tire. We used the soft tire all weekend and we didn't feel that the medium could have given us more than the soft, but the racing conditions were different and we had to find out for ourselves at the start of the race that the soft tire had been the wrong choice. I also had a little contact with Brad (Binder) which didn't help much. I certainly lost a lot of places with that incident, but I don't think that was the main reason for today's result. I hope to learn from this weekend, take some positives and go to Phillip Island with this information", said Miguel Oliveira.
The CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team now packs its bags heading southeast to Australia, where the Phillip Island Circuit awaits more action for round 16 of 2023.