Miguel Oliveira is setting his sights firmly on turning his maiden MotoGP pole position into a second victory of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season after inaugurating the first GP event to take place in Portimao with a popular qualifying result.
The first Portuguese MotoGP to take place since 2012 and the first to ever take place at the Portimao circuit in the Algarve, while Oliveira came into the weekend with the benefit of track experience, he’d never tackled it on MotoGP machinery.
Fastest of all in FP1 and second quickest in FP3, Oliveira came into Q2 with a realistic shot at pole position and he didn’t disappoint, hauling his Tech 3 KTM to a time of 1m 38.892s to pip Franco Morbidelli to the top spot.
Though the absence of fans in the grandstands itself was a great shame in the circumstances, Oliveira – already a race winner this season – feels confident for the race ahead too.
“I feel strong for sure and my pace is looking very promising for the race, we had four tyre compounds to test at the same time that we needed to sort out the set-up of the bike so it’s not easy going into the race not knowing what is going to happen after 15 laps, but I am relaxed. I feel good and I feel I can be consistent throughout the whole race.
“The feeling is special to make a pole in Portugal, especially because in this moment we don’t have much going on in terms of sport and people here are thirsty for some kind of emotion.”
Coming to the conclusion of his second season in MotoGP, this will also be Oliveira’s final outing with the Tech 3 Racing squad before he moves to the Factory KTM team for 2021 alongside Brad Binder.
Having delivered Tech 3 a historic maiden MotoGP win in Styria after more than two decades of trying, Oliveira is eager to go out on a high.
“The win, yes… though in this unusual season it would have been nice to be more consistent.I failed to make the top ten twice with three crashes, so I think I could have done a little bit better.
“All in all I think my season was OK and I feel like I am going into next year a little bit stronger and with a different kind of experience to be able to fight in a more consistent way for top five finishes.”
“It is really nice, leaving Tech 3 is a shame, we have developed over these 3 years a very good relationship, I will be missing it the most, but this is the life of the paddock, this is the chance to go even further in my riding skills and i think the factory racing team can offer me the kind of tools to be ready to fight for victories.”
Oliveira – who has managed seven top six finishes this season – is well placed to consolidate tenth in the overall standings or improve with Jack Miller (12 points ahead) and Takaaki Nakagami (5 points ahead) still within range.