If his first win in Styria was a fluke, then Miguel Oliveira‘s second dominant MotoGP success in Portimao proves why he deserves third in our MotoGP Rider of the Year ranking…
If you were to have predicted pre-season which rider would have ended the 2020 MotoGP season with a maiden victory, we’d like to meet the people that suggested Miguel Oliveira…
And yet, by the time the final chequered flag had fallen in Portimao, Oliveira had ended the year with two remarkable victories to his name.
Indeed, of all the many first-time winners we had in 2020, Oliveira was perhaps (with the exception of KTM stablemate Brad Binder) the most surprising, even before he went on to collect a second at the season finale.
Better still, the tale of his two wins couldn’t have been any more different.
His maiden success in Styria was an admittedly fortuitous success he led for all but 100m after passing the feuding Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro on the run to the line. Even so, few would have begrudged him the last gasp success because it signalled a maiden win for the plucky Tech 3 Racing outfit, its first in 20 years of trying.
However, if you’d have dismissed that victory as something of a fluke, then Oliveira’s second victory on home soil put that firmly to bed. The first MotoGP race to be held at Portimao, the hometown boy came good in the most spectacular fashion, taking pole position, nailing the start and disappearing into the distance for a Stoner-esque dominant showing.
Arguably ninth in the standings doesn’t reflect Oliveira’s true form in 2020 and like many some luck here or there would have changed the final result immeasurably, such as being taken out at the first corner from a good position by Binder in Jerez and then having another KTM rider in Pol Espargaro collide with him in Austria as he contested a podium.
In all, Oliveira notched up seven top six finishes, making him an excellent candidate to assume the KTM Factory team leader mantle from Espargaro in 2021…