Pressure on Espargaro? Oliveira signals intent to claim factory seat

Miguel Oliveira has barely tested his RNF Racing bike but is already eyeing up the factory Aprilia seat owned by Aleix Espargaro.

Espargaro and teammate Maverick Vinales have contracts lasting for the next two seasons but Espargaro, at 33, is the oldest rider on the grid and has already suggested he won’t race beyond his current terms.

The 2023 MotoGP rider line-up sees Oliveira join RNF, after exiting KTM, but he is already considering bigger things.

Remote video URL

Asked if he wanted Espargaro’s factory seat in 2024, Oliveira said: “The season has not started yet. Let’s just be focused on what we must do.

“But, for sure, if it’s available and if I deserve it? I will take it.”

Oliveira has completed his first laps with RNF ahead of the Sepang test: “You always hope that the rider will match the bike. I had that hope. I have to say that I felt good.

“We need to keep very calm with our feet on the ground, we know that we have a lot of work to do in preseason.

“Starting the season strongly is a goal but we must keep in mind: this is a new team with a new rider, a new bike.

“We will build, for sure, our speed and our solid base.”


Oliveira is most excited about: “The bike itself. It is completely new to me, it suits my riding style.

“You feel the expectation that is building around this project.

“It would be super-nice if I can be close to Aleix and Maverick Vinales in the first test. It is a goal to be near the factory guys.

“We expect to test little things, not a lot. Our job is to build a base and to understand what works for me, and what does not work. We will filter a couple of things.”

Oliveira, who won two MotoGP grands prix last year, will be paired alongside Raul Fernandez at RNF.

“Raul is very young, fast and talented,” Oliveira said. “He has the tools to show what he is capable of.

“Whatever we need to do to bring the Aprilias to the top? We will do together.”

Read More