During the build-up to the British MotoGP – before it was cancelled – Crash.net caught up with Moto2 world title contender Miguel Oliveira to chat about all things orange at KTM, his early preparations for his move up to MotoGP and what his dentistry studies mean to him.

Crash:

It was great to hear that you left it all on track in Austria – do you see that as one of your great rides?

Miguel Oliveira:

Honestly it would have been one of the best if I’d won but I was certainly happy with my performance.

I led from the start until the last lap but it’s not easy riding a race like that at that track because you have a lot of braking points. There it’s easier to follow than to lead because you have no braking reference points so it took some concentration to go fast like that. Overall though I’m happy.

Crash:

Do you feel more satisfied coming a close second in a race like that than winning a race with an easy lead?

Miguel Oliveira

No, no, no, it never satisfies me in any way to come second when I know I can win. Of course I was disappointed to come second but the important thing is to learn from it, understand what went wrong and then get over the result. You can’t do anything then so you just have to move on.

The plus point is that I was happy with my performance because I know I gave absolutely everything and I felt that my riding was quite good. But happy for coming second? No.

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CrashTV: 

Crash:

So when Jeremy Burgess said that Valentino Rossi was in it for the racing and Mick Doohan was in it for the winning I guess he’d put you with Mick Doohan right?

Miguel Oliveira:

Well, these are my absolute racing heroes but sure we have to be in it for the win, you try and get the best result you can every weekend considering the circumstances.

I arrive each weekend with the win in mind and during the weekend I work hard to try to understand any problems we are having which might get in the way of that and after that my goal may become more realistic. But one thing I can say now is that we arrive each weekend with the realistic goal of being able to come first.

Crash:

In Moto2 I’ve seen the grid include 20 bikes within a second, is that kind of closeness good for competition or does it allow too many random factors to get in the way of a good race?

Miguel Oliveira:

Yeah, it’s true that does happen. It’s close competition but that incredible tightness in times can make it difficult to consistently be up there on the grid. Sometimes a one-tenth of a second can be three rows on the grid and you go from fourth to 14th , so a tiny mistake can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, in one way it makes it more like a lottery and it can make it a matter of luck.

It makes it fun on one hand but frustrating on the other because you know that you’ve got a good pace for the race, you’re good, you’re consistent but there are five or six riders who can put in a crazy lap and then you’re starting from the back.

Crash:

When you first arrived in Moto2 you were on the Kalex and now you’re on the KTM, would you say that all Moto2 bikes are similar enough for the rider to make the difference?

Miguel Oliveira:

Honestly, it’s hard to say because they are so close that to have a good comparison I’d need to jump from one bike to the other.

Also, at the time I was a rookie in Moto2 and wasn’t getting a lot of feedback from my riding or the team and was learning the hard way. When I got on the KTM it didn’t feel really different, it was the team that made the difference.

Crash:

So a good team will make more of a difference in Moto2 than a good bike?

Miguel Oliveira:

For sure, if you’re working together in a good direction with the team pointing out the areas you need to focus on and you start to get into good habits, that’s the way to success.

Crash:

So you didn’t notice any differences from the steel trellis frame?

Miguel Oliveira:

To be honest I think that if you feel a difference it comes more from your head than the bike. The stiffness seems to be the same between steel and aluminium frames, it just depends how you use the material.

For me the most important things are the tyres and suspension. Tyre pressure and compound and suspension settings are the most important things to fix on the bike to get those extra tenths and the rest is riding style. There are a lot of combinations of these but there are still plenty of guys going fast.

Luckily we’ve now found good base settings and it’s not difficult to arrive at a track and know which bike to use but to find those extra nothings is so difficult. A couple of suspension settings can take you to the back of the grid.

Crash:

You’re really part of the KTM family now – how much commitment do you feel?

Miguel Oliveira:

You can look at KTM’s past in competition and it’s pretty easy to find the answer to that. It’s not a half way commitment, it’s all the way. That’s why I immediately wanted to be part of the project.

I knew they were going to do MotoGP and I knew they were going to do well in Moto2 because they are able to surround the team with capable people who work directly with the factory.

You can see the bikes started from zero in MotoGP and are always getting more competitive. Their positions may not have changed but they are always closer to the front. It’s clear they want to win one day and understand how difficult that will be.

Crash:

It’s great to know that you are on track for a good season but also that you’ve got a ride confirmed with Tech 3 for next year, have you tried the bike?

Miguel Oliveira:

I tested the bike at Aragon for a half day last season. It was a nice quiet test with no media or big show just as a gift to me. It was a great experience but we haven’t finalised too many details yet as to what exactly will happen. We’ll start testing properly after Valencia.

Crash:

Will your crew chief be Guy Coulon?

Miguel Oliveira:

Yeah, it’ll be Guy. Basically I will be using the team that is currently with Johann [Zarco]. I’m really happy. The deal was really good for me and knowing that I’ll be at Tech 3 with these excellent guys will mean that I can learn faster.

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