Oliveira exploring options outside KTM, excludes Tech3

Miguel Oliveira was able to keep in touch with factory KTM team-mate Brad Binder for the opening half of the Italian MotoGP.
Miguel Oliveira, Italian MotoGP, 28 May
Miguel Oliveira, Italian MotoGP, 28 May

But the subsequent drop in rear tyre grip proved bigger than Oliveira was expecting, the Portuguese slipping seven-seconds behind the South African and narrowly losing eighth place to Takaaki Nakagami.

Nonetheless, ninth was Oliveira’s best result since fifth in his home Portimao round.

“It was a competitive race and I could have some fun and overtake a few guys,” Oliveira said. “What was not nice for me was that from the middle of the race onwards I started to struggle with the rear tyre.

“I started to lose more grip, more grip and just couldn’t keep the pace into the 47s.

“I just lost so much edge grip that I could not make the bike turn, then I used a lot of front tyre.

“But overall a better weekend and more competitive. It seems that the aero package has helped us a little bit.

“Basically the aero package that we had [with sidepods], forced us to go in a different direction with the setting, which we were not used to.

“It had some advantages and some disadvantages but especially the turning was affected. Without the pods it put us into a more normal setting, so we could turn faster. But it is still a big weakness for us, the turning.

“But this race was also good for us last year, so we will keep both [aero] options open… We don’t want to be over the moon and too happy, but we think this might have helped us come back to a more normal situation.”

Miguel Oliveira, Italian MotoGP race, 29 May
Miguel Oliveira, Italian MotoGP race, 29 May

Binder’s renowned race consistency was underlined by finishing seventh despite only setting the 13th fastest race lap (+0.637s).

Oliveira set the fifth fastest lap of the race, (+0.380s), almost identically matching the 1m 46.9s he set on his way to second at Mugello last season.

But had Oliveira been able to repeat his 41m 18.936s race time of last year, he would have finished a few hundredths behind Francesco Bagnaia’s race-winning Ducati on Sunday.

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Oliveira: I want to keep factory seat

Earlier in the Mugello weekend, news broke that while KTM expects to make Oliveira a new offer for 2023, it might involve a move back to the satellite Tech3 team.

Oliveira took his first MotoGP wins for Tech3 before joining Red Bull KTM in 2020, where he has added two more victories and four podiums. But, like last year, he is currently outside the top ten in the world championship.

Facing competition for his place as Binder’s team-mate from the likes of Jack Miller, Alex Rins and Pol Espargaro, the #88 confirmed he and his management are also exploring possible options outside of KTM.

“Yeah, I am. I told the management that I do not accept the Tech3 spot and that I want my factory seat,” Oliveira said. “Should this not be possible, for sure I will take other options into consideration.

“But at the moment there is nothing really relevant to add about that.”

Oliveira, who then confirmed he ‘definitely’ wouldn’t be at Tech3, is currently eleventh in the world championship, 15 points behind Binder in seventh.

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