Nothing less than MotoGP title victory will represent success for Miguel Oliveira in 2021.
The Portuguese moves to the factory Red Bull KTM team after two victories with Tech3, on his way to ninth in last year’s world championship.
That may seem like a long way from a world championship challenge, but two of Oliveira’s three DNFs came after tangles with other riders.
Without those incidents, a large part of Oliveira’s final 46-point gap to Suzuki’s Joan Mir could have been removed.
“If you look at what happened in Jerez 2 and Spielberg 1, we could have been very close to maybe the best place in the championship,” said Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal.
Add to that Oliveira’s perfect season finale – pole position, fastest lap and victory in Portimao – and the 26-year-old views the prospect of world championship glory as an ‘ambitious reality’ for 2021.
“I think success for us would be to be world champion,” Oliveira said. “I look at it like a reality.
“For sure it is very ambitious because many things need to go together, but having the tools and having the right people and determination in the project means we are very capable in achieving such a result.
“For sure to be world champion you need to have many details together happening at the same time and for that, depending on how the season is going and what is happening, we can find success through the project.
“Through this process sometimes a fourth place will be a very good result and sometimes a second place may not fulfil our expectations, but you have to work through that process and right now, as a start base, I am thinking quite hard to set a bar of results that we can consider as successful.
“For sure [being] better than 2020 is already a good start.”
Reflecting on how the RC16 has grown during his two seasons in the premier-class, Oliveira explained:
“I would say the 2019 version was still very hard to drive, you needed to force the bike into the corners many times. 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.”
Oliveira will ride alongside Brad Binder, who claimed KTM’s first MotoGP victory at Brno.