Miguel Oliveira “competitive” after “four days with the same bad feeling”

Trackhouse rider Miguel Oliveira makes late progress on turning issues with the 2024 factory Aprilia.


Better late than never: After ‘four days with the same bad feeling’ Miguel Oliveira delivered a ‘competitive’ final day of pre-season testing on the 2024 factory-spec Aprilia in Qatar.

The Trackhouse rider was left wishing it had come sooner after working through a range of chassis and aero options to try and solve a lack of turning with the RS-GP.

Just 15th, 19th and 18th over the three days of the Sepang test, Qatar began with the Portuguese in a worst-yet 21st place.

“I lose a lot of time in the fast corners due to lack of turning, and it's basically the same feeling as I had in Sepang,” Oliveira had said after day one at Lusail.

“It's really in the moment of the trail braking phase. So as soon as you go in [to the corner], you have this sliding of the rear and then you have the pushing to the front and this creates some instability for a fraction of a second where you go wide.

“Maybe it was not so bad in Sepang, but here it's worse and more clear that we need to get that fixed without compromising the other things which actually are working OK.”

The main difference between the 2022 spec Aprilia Oliveira raced last season, and 2023 he tried at the Misano test, is the radical aerodynamic package.

Like factory rider Maverick Vinales, Oliveira appeared to revert to the standard rear aero, rather than the new eye-catching diffuser design that Aleix Espargaro felt instantly comfortable with.

“For sure the main difference [with the new bike], is a lot the aero package, the way this bike is using the air,” Oliveira said. “But I couldn't tell you much more because I really don't know.

“For me the feeling is a lack of turning and I need to get that improved quickly, otherwise will be tough.”

Much to Oliveira’s relief the turning was indeed improved on the last day, when he climbed to 12th (+0.884), but the time lost means he will go into the new season on March 8-10 far from fully prepared.

“It was a better day. I’m not fully satisfied, but at least we took a good step forward. It’s just a shame that we got to a good feeling too late,” said the five-time KTM race winner.

“Finally, it was four days with the same bad feeling and today with a slightly different bike, I could finally start to make some steps and be competitive.

“I couldn’t make the best of the whole bike because your braking points, the way you ride, if you get a good bike day-by-day, you can fine-tune those points.

“Also, we were building up a good speed, then lost some time with one bike, but then with the time-attacks everything worked, more or less, ok.”

Team-mate Raul Fernandez was fifth fastest on the 2023 spec bike.

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