Oliveira on KTM split: ‘Differences naturally made us distance ourselves’

Miguel Oliveira says internal restructuring and the Red Bull KTM team’s willingness to replace him with Jack Miller meant ‘we did not have a future together’, despite the Austrian manufacturer attempting to retain him in in the shape of a GASGAS Tech 3 MotoGP seat.
Miguel Oliveira, KTM MotoGP Sepang 2022
Miguel Oliveira, KTM MotoGP Sepang 2022

Although Oliveira took KTM’s only MotoGP wins of 2022, the Portuguese rider was pushed aside for the incoming Miller, after a two-year deal was agreed with the Australian.

Oliveira, who won races at Mandalika and Buriram last season, remained in talks with KTM as the opportunity to join the newly-branded GASGAS Tech 3 team was on the table.

But after losing his factory seat and feeling like both parties were headed in different directions, Oliveira opted for a move to Aprilia with RNF.

Speaking to Portuguese TV network, Antena, Oliveira said: "I wouldn't say that KTM behaved badly towards me at all. We simply had different ways of thinking. The restructuring of the team went hand in hand with the will to have a rider other than me there. 

"These differences naturally made us distance ourselves and we did not have a future together. Not that the door wasn't open because they really wanted me to stay and ride for the GASGAS, which is basically a KTM painted red.

"The idea was to bring back the GASGAS brand and have a pair of Iberian riders, because the brand is Iberian. 

"They wanted a Spanish rider and a Portuguese rider, but I wasn't very keen on the idea. I honestly believe that there are times in our lives when we need a change. There are some trains that only pass once, and you need to take those opportunities. 

"I was very keen to have that change and to get out of my comfort zone."


The 2023 season will mark the first since 2016 where Oliveira is not part of the KTM set-up. After the GASGAS Tech 3 team failed to lure Oliveira, it went ahead with the addition of Moto2 champion Augusto Fernandez

A winner of four MotoGP races with KTM since 2020, Oliveira has been one of the toughest riders to beat when he and the RC16 was at its best.

Discussing his time with the Austrian brand, Oliveira added: "KTM gave me a lot of comfort for my sporting career. I had the next four years of my life guaranteed. But deep down I knew that wasn't what I wanted. 

"I wanted to experience new opportunities and actually be World Champion, which I believe will happen soon."

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