It was a weekend full of strong emotions in Barcelona, Spain, marking the start of the second half of the MotoGP World Championship. After an excellent performance in Q1, which gave him access to Q2, Miguel Oliveira managed to qualify in top3 and recorded P6 and P5 in the sprint race and the long race of the Catalan Grand Prix, respectively.
Friday with good feelings
The CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team arrived at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with high expectations for this weekend, with the aim of starting a turnaround in the 2023 season, until now marked by misfortunes. Miguel Oliveira started with a very strong pace, but it was a close call that he missed out on direct entry into Q2.
Oliveira recorded the seventh fastest time of the morning. In the 'Practice' in the afternoon, the rider from Charneca de Caparica managed to be a second faster, having passed the checkered flag with the 14th best time, just 0.086 seconds away from direct entry into Q2.
"I had a great day, except for the last 10 minutes of 'time attack'. I'm unhappy that we couldn't improve enough, but I'm sure we'll work on the bike together with my team tomorrow morning, before qualifying to try to have the opportunity to reach Q2 and be as fast as we can”, said Miguel Oliveira confidently.
Oliveira gains access to Q2 and leaves the 1st row of the grid
With a Saturday with mixed conditions, hot and humid, Miguel Oliveira achieved his first start of the season on the front row of the grid today, finishing third in qualifying on the Catalan circuit. Having managed to show his pace, even after a very heavy crash in the first free practice, the 28-year-old Portuguese rider finished Q1 at the top of the timesheets, with an extremely fast lap of 1:38.789 minutes, once again guaranteeing first place in the standings qualification to advance to Q2. And it was in Q2 that the Portuguese rider improved his lap time even further, finishing with an impressive third place, which guaranteed him a start from the front row of the grid, for the 'Sprint race' and for the main race, in the Sunday.
In the 'Sprint', Oliveira lost some positions in the first corner, after the start, running in eighth after the first lap. From then on, Miguel Oliveira fought hard until reaching fifth place on the third lap. Even so, the marked degradation of his tires prevented Oliveira from fighting for the podium, and he even had to give up a position on the last lap. The rider still finished the Sprint in sixth, after 12 racing laps, this being his second best result in a 'Sprint race' to date, after a fifth in Jerez.
"I'm happy with today. I expected a little more in the Sprint race, but I gave it my all. I already had my front tire 'done' after seven or eight laps, so it was difficult for me to turn or brake and I managed the rest of the race. race trying to avoid a crash. It was really a shame because I had good speed and pace, but there was nothing else I could do. It's a good indicator to see two Aprilias on the podium, also with my performance today. Tomorrow [Sunday] we'll go try to understand what we can do to avoid destroying the front tire and try to be as fast as we can”, concluded the rider from Almada.
Sunday giving everything and closing in top5
The long race of the Catalan Grand Prix got off to an impressive start due to several riders crashing, which led to the red flag being raised. Fortunately, both CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team riders were not involved and the race restarted minutes later with 23 laps.
Miguel Oliveira managed to make a good start from P3 on the starting grid and was fourth after the first lap. He showed incredible pace in the opening laps and even progressed to third on the fourth lap. But when the tires wore out, he was unable to maintain the strong pace and lost two positions after lap 10. Even so, the Portuguese rider continued to give everything and ended up crossing the finish line in fifth place, bringing home 11 points.
“In the first seven or eight laps I was doing well, but then it was difficult to prevent Jorge (Martin) and Johann (Zarco) from overtaking in the last laps. My front tire was destroyed on the right side, something we were more or less expecting for this long race. Furthermore, it was also difficult to save the rear tire. But overall, I take several positive notes: it was a good weekend and we were fast. In the race, despite all the difficulties, we were still able to fight for the top five and running in third place for a few laps wasn't bad at all. I'm about to leave for Misano and I'm going with a good feeling and motivation to start working there”, says the Portuguese rider.
In just a few days, the CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team will once again be preparing its 'box' at the Misano World Circuit - Marco Simoncelli, marking the penultimate round on European soil this year, before the season finale in Valencia in November .