Miguel Oliveira: “I want to pay back Aprilia, start doing what they hired me to do”

‘I want to pay back the trust Aprilia have given me and actually start doing the things which they hired me to do’ - Miguel Oliveira.

Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Miguel Oliveira is determined to turn the page on an injury-blighted 2023 MotoGP season and ‘pay back the trust Aprilia have given me’.

Injuries at Portimao, Jerez and Qatar contributed to the Portuguese star reaching the chequered flag just nine times last season, leaving him 16th in the world championship (with a best of fourth place at Silverstone).

Nonetheless, Aprilia are upping their support for the five-time KTM race winner by supplying the Trackhouse rider with factory 2024 RS-GPs, as used by Official Aprilia Racing riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.

Oliveira’s team-mate Raul Fernandez will start on the 2023 spec bike but then be upgraded at a later date.

I'm making a two-year step on the bike [from 2022 spec to 2024] so for sure I will need some time to adapt to the bike,” Oliveira said.

“I expect that maybe in the first couple of races we will, not struggle, but maybe we still don't reach the full potential of the bike because we need time with it.

“I think as soon as we get the bike in a good place, we'll be hopefully constantly challenging for good positions.

“[Predictions are] all a shot in the dark for the moment, we just need to get started and really see what the possibilities are.

“But I'm confident and I also believe a lot in what Aprilia did on the new bike.”

Like most of the field, Oliveira’s contract expires at the end of this season. Quizzed on whether he is already starting to think about where he wants to be in 2025, the 29-year-old responded:

“Look, I finished 9 races out of [20] last year! My only feeling generally at the moment is that I want to pay back the trust Aprilia have given me and actually start doing the things which they hired me to do. And that's it.”

It’s not just the machinery upgrade that makes Oliveira confident ahead of his sixth premier-class season.

Aprilia now has a season’s worth of knowledge as far as supplying a satellite team, new owner Trackhouse is bringing stability after the implosion of the CryptoDATA RNF project, while the proven pit crew remains unchanged.

“It's nice to be coming into a second year with the same crew, especially when we know everything worked the previous season,” Oliveira said.

“We have for sure some good support from Aprilia also, and that is important.

“Aprilia now has experience from the previous season of what the challenges are of supplying another team and I think they are much, much more ready this this season than last year.

“The feeling is really good [with Trackhouse]. You can definitely understand their racing background, the way they think about their brand and the way they want to be present in MotoGP. They want us to perform as a team and this is the most important thing.

“Now we just need experience. We need to get going and face the challenges of a race weekend.”

Oliveira will make his track debut in the red, white and blue Trackhouse livery during the Sepang test from February 6-8.

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