Miguel Oliveira: ‘It’s Marc Marquez... you have to take him into consideration’

Whether Honda are at their best or not in 2023, Miguel Oliveira says no one should take six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez lightly.
Miguel Oliveira, Aprilia MotoGP Sepang 2023
Miguel Oliveira, Aprilia MotoGP Sepang 2023

So often in his MotoGP career Marquez has won races with a bike that was not recognised as the best on the grid, while also doing so at less than full fitness. 

Clearly one of the best riders of all time, if not the greatest, Marquez has the chance to take Honda back to the top of MotoGP in 2023 at a time where Ducati and Aprilia have seemingly produced much stronger machines.

What would a title win in 2023 look like for Marquez? For one it would be his first since 2019 and a sign that he is back to his very best, while it could go down as the best championship win ever given the level of competition around him.

Pre-season testing and the end of last season has not painted a great picture for Honda in terms of looking like a contender, but Marquez can never be ruled out, just ask new RNF Aprilia rider Oliveira.

Speaking on the Estrella Galicia social media channel, Oliveira added: "He had an interesting test. He has tried various bikes and so it didn't go smoothly. But I see him doing well both technically and physically. 

"He is a very strong rider. It's Marc Marquez, so you have to take him into consideration under any circumstances."

Looking at his own performance, Oliveira showed a lot of promise in both Valencia and Sepang.

On a bike that was one of the strongest in 2022, last season’s RS-GP22 could be just what Oliveira needs to hit the ground running and score big points early in the season.

"The first test was very positive," added Oliveira. "Every day we found something to improve and I managed to be more of an Aprilia rider. 

"This was important. I explained my riding style to the team and we got to know each other a little better."

Miguel Oliveira, Sepang MotoGP test, 11 February
Miguel Oliveira, Sepang MotoGP test, 11 February

The 2023 season begins at Portimao, Oliveira’s home round, so winning would be the perfect start to his partnership with Aprilia.

However, taking victory on his official Aprilia debut could be a big ask, and perhaps not the most realistic outcome, even though the Portuguese rider has designs on doing just that following his move from KTM.

Oliveira stated: "I think we form a tandem that has everything to win. This was the premise for the change I chose. Aprilia saw me as a rider who would adapt well to the bike. 

"We have everything it takes to have a good season , even if we have to work on several things to improve.

"The first thing I thought when I learned that the championship would start in Portugal was to win that race. It will be a good challenge, there are still many things to fix. Of course I will give my best ."

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