MotoGP Buriram: ‘Jack kept me in attack mode’ - Oliveira

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira claimed his second victory of the season on Sunday after bettering Ducati’s Jack Miller at the halfway stage.

His fifth win in the premier class, Oliveira tackled the challenging conditions as rain struck the Chang International Circuit in Buriram in time for the 25-lap race. With the action delayed by an hour, the MotoGP grid experienced its first taste of the Thai track in wet conditions since 2019 after running in the dry across the entire weekend.

“It was definitely a difficult race,” Oliveira admitted from the Thai paddock after claiming the victory by almost a second from Miller. “From I think the mental point of view every wet race is difficult because a mistake costs you quite a lot and you can crash so I was definitely comfortable but not too comfortable at the same time.

“I think Jack also put a lot of pressure and pulled away in the beginning of the race and made me be always in attack mode until the last lap and I think that was good because I could never be relaxed.

“The beginning of the race was hard for all of us because we couldn’t see that much in the main straights and there was a little bit of aquaplaning. But yeah, it was a nice one, can’t complain of winning on the wet again.

“I think Jack was much better than me on brakes,” he continued on his main race rival and the rider replacing him in the KTM factory team next season. “Especially turns one and three, he definitely was a bit faster but I could catch back since turn seven onwards but catch back quite a lot and I was surprised by that.

“I think just the pure drive I had was a little bit better and I could be close enough to him to think about overtake. When I tried it the first time it didn’t work and then I just hold a little bit behind him to try to get a little bit of a gap to Pecco, which was also going very fast. And then on the occasion I got close and made a block pass so that was good.”

Openly tipped as a wet weather master, a title backed up by his early season win at Mandalika back in March, the Portuguese rider demonstrated an easy partnership with the KTM in rain conditions from the outset.

“I don’t know what is it?” Oliveira commented. “I think, beginning of last year we also find quite easily a rain setting that suits my style and takes the best of the bike and that’s the only explanation I think.

“I only have a bit of advantage when we don’t ride - so we have like dry sessions and then we have one wet session which is the race. I think these first 10/15 minutes I can be very quickly in a good level.

“As you saw in Motegi, we had many times on the wet and I think the level between everyone was more equal because everyone has more time to find their best setting and they can practice at it basically. So that’s the only reason I can find.”

With the races counting down before he swaps from the Austrian manufacturer to Aprilia’s satellite outfit, a win and a top five last time out in Japan are helping the 27-year-old go out on a high.

“I mean it’s always nice,” he said of his recent progress. “Also the dry sessions I’ve been having and the dry results have been quite promising and I’ve been able to show very good potential. It’s definitely sad that it will end in Valencia but I’m also happy to be on another challenge.

“It’s definitely a hard category now, you cannot jump into a bike and say that’s a much better bike than my bike. We always ride behind the other guys, we say ‘Oh the other guy’s bike is so much better than my one’ but I think we just need to focus on getting the best we can from our machine and also get a good group around us that can help us do that. I think that’s the key of Moto GP nowadays.”

Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images