Miguel Oliveira ‘really confident’, looking for ‘memorable’ Aprilia weekend

Miguel Oliveira: “I have a good memory here with Aprilia from last year and hopefully will be able make an even more memorable one this season."

Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Catalunya was one of Miguel Oliveira’s best weekends of the 2023 MotoGP season.

The former Barcelona winner for KTM put his year-old Aprilia on the front row in qualifying and took sixth and fifth in the races, won by the factory team’s Aleix Espargaro.

Now riding the latest 2024-spec RS-GP under the Trackhouse banner, the Portuguese returns with a best race result of eighth so far this season.

While Espargaro and then Maverick Vinales have been able to unlock speed from the RS-GP24, Oliveira is yet to get as comfortable on the aerodynamically advanced machine.

But his and Aprilia’s past Barcelona form means this weekend offers as good a chance as any for a breakthrough ride.

“It’s always nice to come to Barcelona. It’s a track that is a part of my early days in racing - I have always raced in Barcelona,” Oliveira said.

“I have a good memory here with Aprilia from last year and hopefully will be able to make an even more memorable one this season.

“It’s a quite technical track; you need to pay a lot of attention to the first chicane, you can lose a lot of time there. Then there’s the fast section and the double right corners in the last sector.

“As it’s a track that doesn’t have much grip, you always need to manage the tyres to be competitive through to the end of the Grand Prix.

“I’m really confident for Barcelona.”

Catalunya will be the second of four home Spanish rounds for team-mate Raul Fernandez, now riding the 2023-spec bike that Espargaro and Maverick Vinales took to a dream one-two finish a year ago.

“I feel very lucky to have four Grands Prix in Spain. This one is special, mainly for Aprilia as they got a 1-2-result here last year so, for me, it’s great to get there knowing that our bike works amazingly at this circuit,” said Fernandez, who has a best Grand Prix finish of tenth this season.

“Honestly, I’m very happy to go there after we found more progress again in Le Mans. I’m happy with the current situation and I will be going to Barcelona to enjoy the race weekend because I think we are really working well.”

Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg added: “Looking back to what we achieved there last year, it makes you wonder where the potential is and what we can achieve this year, especially as we have had a couple of good races recently.

“Even though Miguel couldn’t finish the last race in France, we are consistently fast and we want to make a step - I think Barcelona is a good place to do that.

“Aleix winning there last year was remarkable and a very strong performance, but also the race that Miguel had last year in Barcelona was very good.

“Raul’s got one of his home rounds, on Spanish soil, so that will help with some extra motivation and we are really interested to see what both boys are able to do this week.”

Like most of the field, Oliveira and Fernandez are yet to confirm their places on the 2025 grid.

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