While Miguel Oliveira is building back up his MotoGP fitness following shoulder surgery over the winter, the Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider feels the Austrian manufacturer has delivered clear improvements since he’s been out of action.

The Portuguese rider effectively missed the final three races of his rookie MotoGP season due to a shoulder injury which was operated on in early November to give him three months of recovery for the Sepang shakedown and official pre-season test.

Like Marc Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami who have also undergone respective shoulder surgeries this winter, Oliveira has completed a restrained programme on the second day of the official test with 42 laps, with his best lap putting him 16th overall and 0.793s off pace-setter Fabio Quartararo, as he balances his rehabilitation with helping develop KTM’s 2020 machine.

“I expected not to arrive at 100% and it was exactly what I encountered. I knew that the doctors gave me three months for recovery so I have done the three months but actually it was more about the physical shape in question and not the shoulder,” Oliveira said.

“We managed to find a good compromise between training in the last month and gaining what we needed to do on the shoulder. I would say from the medical point of view everything looks fine so I just need to keep working on reducing the pain.

“I am having a bit of control inside the box and we are making the plan in order for me to stay longer inside the box between the runs. I am not going out to test little things basically. So, we are making every lap count and so far it is going good. Today it was a bit more painful already from the start in the morning so we cut today a little bit short in order to rest for tomorrow.”

Before returning to action at the shakedown, Oliveira’s last KTM outing also came at Sepang when he completed four laps in FP1 at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix before withdrawing due to his shoulder injury.

Having missed the early 2020 preparations at the post-season Valencia and Jerez tests, Oliveira has been impressed by KTM’s range of upgrades tested out with the RC16. KTM gained attention in the paddock when it wheeled out a rectangular-shaped steel side beams frame with two versions of the new chassis debuted at the Valencia test.

“KTM has improved in some areas and some others there is still some room to improve, for sure, but I would say trail braking, the riding itself and the turning has improved a lot so this is something we were looking for coming into this season. I think KTM found it,” Oliveira said.

“The job they have done in one year is incredible especially working one year in delay. Last year was the first season they had the chance to supply another four bikes to another team to develop at the same time. I’d say they did a pretty good job in Mattighofen and also the test team has helped us a lot to bring the good parts that we know that work.

“We were able to do quite a bit of the filtering of parts test during the shakedown. We went through a lot of parts which we found that were useful here or not and now we are just focusing a little bit on tuning the bike to my way. That’s what we’ve been doing these two days.”

The Sepang test concludes tomorrow (February 9) with MotoGP heading to Qatar for the final pre-season test on February 22-24.

 

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