Portugal is set to return to the MotoGP calendar for the first time since 2012, with the Portimao circuit parachuted in as the new 2020 season finale following the cancellation of the flyway races.

Official confirmation is due on August 10, but Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira was naturally asked for his thoughts on the eve of this weekend's Czech Republic MotoGP.

"It's obviously a big reason for me to be happy. I'm really crossing fingers that we get the confirmation soon," Oliveira said.

"I think Portugal deserves it, because not only because we have a Portuguese rider - which is me! - but also for the fact that we have been handling the Covid situation so well.

"The spreading rate of the virus in Portugal is one of the lowest in Europe, so every ingredient is there for us to have to have the race.

"We are already having the Formula One race there so I think that's a good example that in terms of sport, Portugal is ready to welcome a big race like this.

"I also think everyone has good memories from Portugal from all the years that we were racing at Estoril.

"For me, being in the MotoGP class and racing in front of my home crowd will be for sure be an amazing feeling. Something really special that I think few Italians and Spanish understand!

"So I hope that we get the confirmation, to get that little extra boost and motivation to do well in that particular race."

Portimao would also be Oliveira's final race for the Tech3 team before moving to the factory KTM squad in 2021.

The 25-year-old confirmed on Thursday that he is set to work with all of Pol Espargaro's current crew, led by Paul Trevathan.

"I don't know if I'm allowed to speak but I don't think it's a secret, I will basically keep Pol's crew for my side of the garage [next year]," Oliveira said.

Oliveira will ride alongside Brad Binder next season, the rider who clipped his back wheel at turn one of the previous Jerez race, leaving him down and out after a best-yet MotoGP qualifying of fifth.

"I spoke with Brad again today and we kind of joked about the situation on Sunday," Oliveira said. "For sure he feels very bad about what happened. I tried to just say that it's okay, it's not the end of the world. We have more races.

"We have a good relationship and when something like that happens it's a shame, but there is nothing you can do about it.

"It's just a shame because it's him and we are going to be team-mates and we have a good relationship. There was absolutely no intention whatsoever for him to hit me. It's just a pure racing manoeuvre that ended up badly.

"So it's over for us and our relationship is just fine.

"I'm confident for this weekend at Brno because at Jerez I felt I was stronger and we made a step forward in terms of speed with the bike, so really looking forward to starting."

 

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