Although this will be Miguel Oliveira's first season with the factory KTM team in MotoGP, the Portuguese star has the most experience out of the four current riders within the Austrian outfit, as he looks to make another step forward in 2021.

It won't be easy to match the exploits of last season where Oliveira took his first wins in MotoGP. A brilliantly calcualted last lap in Spielberg to take advantage of Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller running wide at the final turn, and a thoroughly dominant performance from lap one at his home Grand Prix in Portugal were the highlights in what was a great second season in the top class. 

If KTM are to continue their trend of late which is getting closer to the front on a more consistent basis, they should be in prime position to replicate similar results and sustain a championship challenge. 

Oliveira joined the factory team at the conclusion of last season to replace Espargaro who has moved to Repsol Honda, and will once again have the familiarity of partnering Brad Binder

The two have a lengthy history together having been team-mates in both Moto3 and Moto2. They enjoyed great success in the lower categories and have been difficult to seperate results wise in their careers so far. 

The pair were meant to be team-mates at Tech 3 in 2020, but after the situation regarding Johann Zarco and the factory team, Binder was drafted in to replace the Frenchman.  

Last year was the first season where Binder was brought into the 'factory' KTM team first, as Oliveira previously moved up the classes a year ahead of Binder. 

But with that said, Oliveira has the most experience with the RC16 and spoke about this along with the differences between the 2019 and 2020 bikes during the team's launch. 

"The 2019 and 2020 versions were quite different because of the way the bikes handles and the feedback it gives to the rider. I would say the 2019 version was still very hard to drive, you needed to force the bike into the corners many times," said Oliveira. 

"It was very wild! It was a big shock when I rode the bike. Through 2020 and the testing I saw much more potential in this bike: it was much more natural and the feedback it gave was so nice. I could immediately see that this bike was on for good results." 

Having been part of the KTM project for many years, Oliveira has seen first hand the level of improvement that has been made. Anytime a rider is competing at the top level, knowing they have the equipment underneeth them to maximise their potential is crucial to any success. 

This is an area that KTM have strived to improve and Oliveira is excited that the team is in this position. The 26 year-old said: "It is very important to know you have the tools to achieve good results. You just need to make sure you are at 120% all the time.

"This is my main focus, not only physically but also mentally to be ready for the challenges ahead.

"It is quite a relaxing factor to know that the bike is capable of winning but at the same time you cannot take anything for granted and when it comes to repeating it becomes harder so I don’t see it as a static job.

"I think every year you need to bring something up on your side to keep a very good level in this championship." 

With the 2021 season expected to be just as unpredictable as last season, the championship could be there for the taking yet again and KTM's duo of Oliveira and Binder will certainly fancy their chances. 

 

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