MotoGP Misano: ‘Strong relationship remains with KTM’ - Oliveira

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira arrived at Misano World Circuit having confirmed the move to Aprilia for MotoGP 2023.

The four-time premier class race winner had a renewed offer from his current manufacturer on the table in Austria - in a bid to retain him within the new GasGas sac tory team alongside Pol Espargaro - but the draw of the burgeoning Aprilia RS-GP saw him sign with the RNF satellite squad.

“There were different factors in making the decision,” Oliveira explained ahead of the San Marino GP. “For sure, the timing was one big factor. It was the time that I felt I could have the chance to maybe try another machine, and a very competitive one, so that made me really think and be tempted to accept this offer. Also, I felt a very warm welcome from Massimo [Rivola, Aprilia Racing Director].

“Massimo really maybe added the extra ingredient to convince me, but it’s for sure a great pleasure to be involved for the next two years in a different project, a bike that can already be proved that it can be very consistent through every weekend and every race track.

“I mean, for sure, after a seven-year relationship, we don’t want to end things in an abrupt way or without giving a fight, so I think that the late efforts made by KTM to keep me in the family were super-fair. I’m very proud of the relationship we had and built throughout these years.

“The intention of KTM keeping me in the project was there since even they announced Jack [Miller] for the factory seat,’ he confirmed. “At that time, there was no intentions or idea on how the team would be called - Gasgas or Tech3 - so at that moment my decision was quite clear.

“Throughout the process, of course, I was given the green light to look for other seats and I did. During this time, there was no further developments with KTM until the Spielberg weekend, where they made the last offer and the last push to keep me and as I said before, I have nothing else to add but appreciation and very grateful for their efforts.

“We were always very transparent in these negotiations and giving feedback to them, and from their side also they were very transparent all the time. So, I’m really proud we have built this strong relationship, and the world is round, you never know the next day, so everything will remain in a good way, in a good relationship.”

Reflecting on the adventure ahead, the Portuguese rider is taking tips from former Yamaha front-runner Maverick Viñales.

“It’s very hard to analyse from the outside because every bike looks better than your bike,” Oliveira said of the RS-GP’s potential. “Because you maybe compare it in not a fair moment or in the heat of the race; you just want to go faster and you cannot. But, I think, looking at Viñales really helped me to understand more the potential of the bike.

“Aleix [Espargaro] is normal because he has spent so many years and he knows the bike perfectly, but Viñales coming from his entire career in MotoGP with inline engines, that really made it quite interesting when he jumped on the bike, to perform already in a very good level. So, that maybe convinced me more than probably Aleix’s results. So, let’s see how we fit.

“Of course, every move is based in a little bit of faith and hope that it works out, so of course that investment we will do in the future.”