He is the fastest man at the moment on the Red Bull KTM, won at the Red Bull Ring last year with a sensational move and cannot wait to get racing again after the summer break – an exclusive interview with Miguel Oliveira.
When you close your eyes and think of the Red Bull Ring, what do you think of?
The orange KTM stand and the gigantic metal bull behind it. It’s an iconic image that you only get at the Red Bull Ring.
On the subject of orange stands – is Austria actually your home race, or is it Portugal?
It’s Portugal. I was born in Portugal and doing a lap with your national flag after taking a win is just incomparable. I have a special relationship to Austria though, of course, with KTM and Red Bull. I would say that it is my second home race, or my second and third [laughs].
The first race at the Red Bull Ring last year didn’t go according to plan at all with the crash. You then went and won the second. What happened to you in this one week? How did you manage to reprogramme yourself mentally?
I was furious. I collided with my team-mate, after all, and that is never good. I used this anger and fury as a source of energy for the second Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
Then you won with your legendary manoeuvre in the final curve, in which you raced past Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro. What went through your mind there?
It was a very normal manoeuvre, and technically nothing special. What was special was only that I remained calm and carried it out clinically while my fellow racers got in each other’s way in the final curve as I expected.
Do you still think of it a lot?
No, not often. It seems to me that those around me think about it more than I do. For good reason – it was an unexpected move at the most exciting point of two weeks of MotoGP at the Red Bull Ring. Overtaking moves in the final curve are exactly what the fans want to see. Then it gets repeated endlessly on the TV and is in the highlights in the race summaries. What makes the Red Bull Ring special for me is that I won the first MotoGP of my life here. I will always remember that.
Do you have a favourite turn at the Red Bull Ring?
The last two. They are really cool.
KTM made great technical progress in the last races before the summer break. What can fans expect at the Red Bull Ring?
I am 100% focused, and the team too. It will be about finding a good setup in the first training sessions. If it leads to a win in the first weekend, fine. If not, we will attack again on the second weekend.
Are there new parts on the bike?
Only small things, nothing too serious. It’s the normal work of the test team, who are always trying to make our KTM faster.
What can we expect from the wildcard start of your test rider Dani Pedrosa?
I am sure that after the race he will know better what the bike needs and how we can improve it. He will probably be able to take on board the comments of our riders better. All that should aid the technical development.
What do you need to be happy when you leave the Red Bull Ring after the two races?
Two wins! No, it’s difficult to tie it all to results. MotoGP is just too close for that. I would be happy if I can look in the mirror afterwards and know that I’ve given 100 percent over both weekends.