Oliveira: Too early to think about MotoGP title despite Catalunya win

KTM’s Miguel Oliveira admits “it’s quite early” to begin to think about his MotoGP title hopes in 2021 despite his Catalan Grand Prix win on Sunday.

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

The Portuguese rider struggled at the start of 2021, as the RC16 didn’t get on well with Michelin’s generally softer front tyre allocation in the early rounds.

Failing to crack a top 10 from the first five races, a new chassis transformed Oliveira’s fortunes last week at Mugello as he scored second before going on to take his third career MotoGP victory last Sunday at Barcelona.

Now making advancement up the championship order, sitting 61 points behind leader Fabio Quartararo, Oliveira admits his recent form makes it “tempting” to begin to think about the championship.

However, he says it’s still too early in the season to begin to think like this and is focused now on simply building on his recent upturn in form.

“I mean, it’s quite early I think to talk about title hopes or anything like that,” he said.

“We got a really bad start to the championship and that put us really on the bottom of the standings.

“And now we are building up results.

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“It’s quite tempting to think [with] back-to-back podiums and me moving up so quickly in the standings, it’s quite tempting to think about that [the championship].

“But I just prefer to focus on every weekend, try to do the maximum weekend and bring home the most points as possible in every race.

“In the end, we’ll see where we end up, but right now this is the main focus.”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MotoGP

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Oliveira says “key” to his run to victory was the period from lap two to 11 of Sunday’s 24-lap race where he led for the first time and was able to manage his hard front and rear tyres.

However, he admits the final laps – where he came under pressure from Pramac’s Johann Zarco – “were really hard” to just stay on the bike as his rubber eventually faded.

“From my perspective it was hard to understand what was going on behind me,” he said of his race.

“I knew at the beginning there was a couple of switches on the position.

“I got this little gap that I was comfortable, and I could be gentle with the tyres, do my lines and not make any mistakes.

“And I think that was the key to be able to finish.

“Was quite hard for everyone I guess, but for me it was extra hard because I had a hard front tyre and the last eight laps were really hard for me to stay on the bike and not crash.”

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