Miguel Oliveira

Miguel Oliveira
Birth Date: 
4 January, 1995
Birth Place: 
Almada, Portugal

Miguel Oliveira Biography

Jack Miller's Red Bull KTM arrival came at the expense of the factory's five-time race winner Miguel Oliveira, who then turned down the chance to move back to the rebranded Tech3 GASGAS team in favour of a fresh start with Aprilia at RNF.

A shining youth rider at national level in Mini GPs, Oliveira first grabbed international attention with victories in the Red Bull Rookies Cup at Donington Park and Assen in 2008 aged 13. A maiden CEV 125cc campaign saw him finish in third place a year later before ending runner-up in both the CEV and European 125GP classes in 2010.

That led to his 125cc debut at world level with a partial campaign in which he produced six top-ten results for Andalucia Banca Civica as well as continuing to star in CEV.

2012 saw Oliveira make a full-time switch to the newly-branded Moto3 world championship in which he claimed a maiden podium at round five with third place in Barcelona. A second rostrum arrived at the penultimate round at Phillip Island with second place to see the Portuguese rider grab eight place in the standings.

Oliveira’s efforts attracted Mahindra where he spent two seasons fighting with ultimately uncompetitive machinery but was still able to grab two podiums and a maiden pole position.

In 2015, a move to Red Bull KTM saw him launch a Moto3 title challenge against Danny Kent which came up just short ending the year runner-up. It allowed him to move up to Moto2 with Leopard Racing, joining former title rival Danny Kent at the team, but it proved a tricky maiden campaign in the intermediate class with just three top-ten finishes.

Oliveira’s year was also hampered by a broken collarbone suffered at Aragon after being hit by Franco Morbidelli during Friday practice. It meant the Portuguese missed four rounds in total but did return for the 2016 finale in Valencia taking 13th place.

Once again Oliveira made a switch to the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad and history repeated itself as he set-up a title challenge but this time in Moto2. In 2017 a maiden podium and pole position arrived in Argentina and he maintained his front-running pace throughout the year with five additional podiums before a breakthrough victory at Phillip Island which triggered a hat-trick of victories to end the year in third place in the standings.

Oliveira maintained his momentum into 2018 with Red Bull KTM Ajo, dovetailing his racing with his dentistry studies, as he claimed three wins and nine rostrums to end the year closest title challenger to the dominant Francesco Bagnaia.

Oliveira moved up to MotoGP in 2019 as part of the new-look Tech3 KTM squad, making history with a brilliant last corner victory over Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro in Austria to claim the first premier-class win for the French team after 20-years of trying.

Later confirmed as moving to the factory team in place of the departing Pol Espargaro, with whom Oliveira clashed on track in 2020, the portuguese then signed off his brief but spectacular Tech3 career with a perfect pole, fastest lap and victory in his home Portimao finale.

With Binder also winning a race for the factory team, KTM had high hopes of a title challenge for 2021.

But the factory had lost concessions due to its 2020 success and the RC16 lost relative ground to its rivals over the winter. Oliveira hadn't even cracked the top ten before suddenly taking a revised chassis and fuel to second pace in Mugello (round 6). Victory next time in Catalunya and then another podium in Germany seemed to confirm KTM had corrected its issues.

Oliveira was now tipped as a potential title contender, yet would barely score points during a nightmare second half of the year.

It began badly with an awkward practice fall in Austria but it soon became clear that the RC16's earlier performance issues were also far from solved. Nonetheless, while Oliveira's results evaporated over the second half of the championship, team-mate Binder stepped up as top KTM in the last nine races, consistency taking the South African to sixth overall while Oliveira sank to 14th place.

As such, few riders were hoping to hit the reset button more than Oliveira for the start of 2022.

Unfortunately, the 'spiky' nature of Oliveira's results continued, perfectly illustrated by a wet victory in round two at Mandalika being preceded by a DNF in Qatar and 13th next time in Argentina.

Oliveira added another wet win later in the season at Buriram, making him the only RC16 rider to stand on the top step, but couldn't beat fifth in the dry and finished tenth in the world championship (four places behind Binder).

The Portuguese will race year-old RS-GPs, alongside Raul Fernandez, at RNF in 2023.

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