Miguel Oliveira is continuing to struggle with the shoulder ligament injury sustained when he was hit by Johann Zarco at Silverstone in August.

Rookie Oliveira had claimed a career-best eighth place just before the British Grand Prix incident, but has only scored three points in the four races since.

"Right now the bike is improving a lot, Miguel’s feeling with it is more and more positive race after race," said Tech3 KTM team manager Herve Poncharal. "The main struggle we have is not technical, it’s physical, because clearly since the Silverstone incident, Miguel has been suffering with the shoulder.

"There are some circuits where the pain is less than others, but obviously in Thailand it didn’t help during the last third of the race. [But] the two weeks since should help his recovery further and Motegi is a circuit that suits the KTM and Miguel’s riding style quite well, I believe."

Oliveira is 17th in the world championship with 29 points heading into this weekend's Japanese MotoGP, having lost second place in the Rookie standings to Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) in Thailand.

“I feel that we could have done a little bit more in the Thai GP, but it was all caused by the circumstances of my shoulder and after the two crashes on Friday, everything was a bit unclear for me," Oliveira said.

"I think we are strong and confident enough to fight for the points again in Japan. It’s a track that I like, a country, that I love to visit, so I think it’s going to be a good turnout for us.”

Team-mate Hafizh Syahrin has scored just seven points this season, but the Malaysian at least approaches the final four rounds with his future decided, having now been confirmed as moving back to Moto2 in 2020 with the Angel Nieto team.

“I’m truly looking forward to Japan! I like the people and the culture of this country, plus the track is also amazing, I really love it. Having said that, I’m also sure, that it’s not going to be easy. I will do my best as always and until the end of the season," said Syahrin, who is last in line for KTM upgrades.

"I just want to finish the race and let’s see what we can do and where we are. The last race in Thailand was not very strong, so I hope to have a better Grand Prix in Motegi.”

Moto2 star Brad Binder will take over Syahrin's seat in 2020.

 

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