Miguel Oliveira put Portugal well and truly on the map in 2020, what’s in store for 2021?
Miguel Oliveira had an outstanding 2020 MotoGP campaign, taking not one but two race wins, including a dream win at his home track at Portimao, taking pole position and the fastest lap in the process, he would finish the season in P9 overall in the championship standings as the second-fastest KTM rider.
Oliveira has been able to achieve results no other KTM rider has done so before in the premier class, although he was the second KTM rider to take a win, he was incredibly consistent throughout the season with only Pol Espargaro bettering him on consistency, plus he is the first premier class KTM rider to take two race wins, both on satellite machinery, KTM supply the Tech3 squad with identical bikes to their factory team, but he still remains an independent team rider.
He has been able to raise the name of MotoGP within Portugal to a massive level with people comparing his popularity in Portugal to that of David Beckham with the @Portugal Instagram account posting about Oliveira, the post receiving more likes than posts about Cristiano Ronaldo, says it all really.
It was announced that he will replace the outbound Pol Espargaro at the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team for 2021, teaming up with Brad Binder, another KTM race winner, the duo go way back to Moto3 with the duo signing for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, doing the same in Moto2, it is known that the pair are good friends and work together incredibly well with them being dubbed a Dream Team by many. We have a full feature article about this which can be read here.
Oliveira and his Portimao race-winning trophy
Binder and Oliveira will both be working towards the same goal, winning races for KTM, the duo also have the help of test rider Dani Pedrosa who has completely revolutionised the way KTM work and has majorly aided in their development and rise to the front of the MotoGP grid. It is known that Oliveira and Binder are incredibly friendly, therefore sharing data is more than likely to happen between the two as they work together to understand how to make the bike faster and eventually fight for titles on the RC16, something the pair are more than capable of doing.
Oliveira has proven he is capable of winning MotoGP races, whether it be from a last corner scrap to just clearing off at the start of a race and putting 4 seconds between you and second place to comfortably take a win, therefore his confidence will be sky-high, not to mention his confidence in KTM given that he will be starting his 6th season with the brand in 2021, meaning he knows how they work, he knows the brand, has complete faith in their testing programme and has strong relationships with the key people such as Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports director.
KTM are giving him all the tools to get the job done, even in 2020 in the Tech3 team, therefore a step up to the factory team gives him even more access to things regarding development and how to improve the bike which is a win-win scenario in all situations. The team morale is at an absolute high, he will have more pressure in the factory team but he’s proven in the past he can cope well with pressure, for example at Portimao when he had his entire country watching him and he sailed to an incredibly dominant race win, 2021 better watch out, Oliveira is about.
Featured images – www.motogp.com