Miguel Oliveira proudly remembers the victories of 2020 but also talks about the relationship with Binder and motorcycling in Portugal. Here’s the interview.
By María Viñas López / motosan.es
This year Miguel Oliveira will join the official team after a season marked by two victories. We’ve known his potential for years, but he could be one of the big revelations. The Portuguese, 26 y.o, brought to KTM (after Binder in Brno) trophies after years of work. He did it with Tech3, the satellite team of the Austrian structure, arousing the interest of the top officials. Before Pol Espargaró’s departure, the brand was looking for a new driver from outside. One hypothesis was Andrea Dovizioso, but in the end, Oliveira secured that place with his results.
Once more he has shown his talent, as well as his ability to cope with the pressure and needs of a team throughout the year. He and his new teammate Brad Binder, former box mate in the past, will be looking to continue improving the KTM to take it to the top. Will it be one of the favorites for the title? The season is very uncertain due to the pandemic. What is clear is that Oliveira will return to Portimao, for that home GP in which he took his second win of the season last year.
You are the first KTM rider to win at the home circuit, the Red Bull Ring, taking your first MotoGP success. What was your first thought once you crossed the finish line? What is it like to win without an audience?
It was a great success. Of course, the fans make everything more special, not only in MotoGP but in any sport. Having the audience in the stands is much better, as in the celebrations. But it was a great victory, I felt very proud and was full of adrenaline. It is a day that I will always remember.
This year you are in the factory KTM team and you will share the garage with Brad Binder again as in the past. How is your relationship? Is it an extra motivation or is it “scary”, considering the level of the bike?
My relationship with Brad is good. I would say it is the type of relationship that can be expected between two people who respect each other inside the box. I think we can push each other to improve, as we have already done in the previous categories. Brad is a great driver and I hope the relationship will always remain good in the future.
How did you experience such a hectic world? I guess it’s fun to see how things change between one race and another.
For me it was a bit of a strange season, every month we raced several times on the same circuits. It is both fun and complicated, especially for us and for the mechanics.
However, you were able to run at home in Portimao. Do you like the track? How was closing the season in your country?
Going to Portugal it’s great. I would love to have a home race every year. It would also be incredible to have the public in the stands, I hope they can come back and put on a show. For me, it was very nice to be able to compete in a home Grand Prix.
Could the return of Portugal in the World Championship rekindle the passion for motorcycling that perhaps was lost with the farewell of Estoril? Your victory had a great following…
I believe the passion for motorcycling is growing, not just because of my victory last year. Over time, people began to look to MotoGP more and more for the Portuguese presence. As the only rider in the country, people watch and support me. It’s nice to be the only Portuguese in the league. At the same time, a home GP will help this passion even more. This is what I hope, as well as I hope that the Portuguese fans enjoy the MotoGP. Seeing a live race is very different, I hope they are more and more interested.