Fernandez: ‘We have an amazing bike’, Oliveira ‘would like to be more in front’

Raul Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira’s dream start to life at Aprilia continued in Portimao as both riders ended the two-day MotoGP test ready to race.
Raul Fernandez, RNF Aprilia MotoGP Portimao 2023
Raul Fernandez, RNF Aprilia MotoGP Portimao 2023

Although the RNF Aprilia duo failed to finish as high up the leaderboard as day-one, Fernandez was within a couple of tenths of factory riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, while Oliveira split the two Spaniards. 

Fernandez has looked back to his best since joining Aprilia, while Oliveira’s seamless transition from KTM has put him in position to be a threat from race one.

Despite crashes for both riders on the final day of pre-season testing, Fernandez and Oliveira feel that they’re in a good place heading into next week’s season-opener.

Fernandez said: "I’m really happy about our test, especially about today. We had a great day and have been working alone on the pace. The speed is very good. 

"In the last moment, when I tried to do the time attack, I had a small crash. For that I want to apologize to my team. 

"But anyway, also thanks to them, we did a really good job. I’m very happy, we have an amazing bike and I think 2023 is going to be a very nice season for us. 

"Aprilia worked really well last year, they created a fantastic bike and I’m very satisfied overall."

Fernandez is yet to finish in the top ten of a MotoGP race, but after putting a dismal 2022 campaign with Tech 3 KTM behind him, such a result could come sooner rather than later.

For Oliveira, winning races early on in the season could present a challenge given the form of many Ducati riders in pre-season, although the Portuguese rider has shown a knack for getting it done when expectations were not there for him to do so.

Miguel Oliveira, Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March
Miguel Oliveira, Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March

"After today, we are in a good place to start the first Grand Prix," added Oliveira. "Though we would like to be a bit more in front in the standings, our pace was quite strong and we have been there during the whole day which is good. 

"Unfortunately, in the afternoon today during the time attack, I had a small crash, I was pushing and there was nothing I could do. 

"We have some work to do, I just need to start the race weekend to see where we are."

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