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MotoGP Americas GP

Oliveira: Fifth in COTA MotoGP "a small victory" after injury from Marquez clash

RNF Aprilia MotoGP rider Miguel Oliveira says finishing fifth in the Americas Grand Prix was “a small victory” on his comeback from injury following his Portugal crash with Marc Marquez.

Miguel Oliveira, RNF MotoGP Racing

The Portuguese rider was wiped out of a podium position on the third lap of last month’s opening round of the 2023 season at the Algarve International Circuit.

Oliveira suffered tendon damage on his right side as a result of the heavy hit and was forced to miss the Argentina GP the following week.

The RNF rider was cleared to race at the Circuit of the Americas and managed to score points in both the sprint and the grand prix.

Building on his eighth in the sprint, Oliveira took the chequered flag just over a second behind factory Aprilia counterpart Maverick Vinales.

Commenting on his race last Sunday, Oliveira said: “It was not too bad. It was a tough day because it was so easy to crash that I was really happy to just stay on the bike and really be competitive.

“It was really a small victory after coming back from an injury and on a track which I really don’t like. To finish fifth is a good result.”

Oliveira says he struggled with his tendon injury, but it really didn’t make that much of a difference to him as his entire body was in pain after a physically demanding weekend at COTA.

“Injury, it was there, but to be honest I had so much pain all over the body that it was just another one,” he said.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Bob Meyer

Vinales ruing start issues on Aprilia

Maverick Vinales’ weekend was compromised by two bad launches in the sprint and the grand prix.

Dropping from eighth to 18th on the opening lap of the sprint, Vinales was able to recover to 10th – albeit to score no points – but dropped down the order again off the line in Sunday’s grand prix.

He took the chequered flag in fourth place having shown pace strong enough to fight for the podium, but blames a set-up issue with his clutch for costing him at the start.

“It’s a shame because I think we had the potential to win the race, or at least to fight for it,” Vinales said.

“But, we need to work on it. It’s mandatory we improve the start. It’s something we will fix, this is clear.

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“I think it’s the setting of the clutch, because I can see that the procedure of my team-mates is very similar, but the behaviour of the bike is totally different.

“So, it must be something that Aprilia has to improve. We are not worried about it because we have the speed, but if we can be in the front and win races it is even better. I think we are in a good level after the first three races, we are faster than we expected. This is important.”

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