#AskOliveira: “I hope that in the near future we have a Portuguese GP again”04/03/2015
Miguel Oliveira faces his fifth season in the Moto3 World Championship as part of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, with which he hopes to compete for the title. The Portuguese rider answers questions from fans via the team’s official Twitter (@RedBull_KTM_Ajo) and Facebook (Red Bull KTM Ajo) accounts. Oliveira is delighted with his new team and his new teammates and says he would be thrilled if Portugal were to host a Grand Prix again.
Miguel, how do you feel in your new ‘home’?
“Very good. Being on a team like Red Bull KTM Ajo, who are multiple time World Champions, always gives you a little pressure but also provides you with calm, because there are very reliable people here and they always try to give you their best so you can do well.”
Do you think you’ll be able to fight for the title this year?
“I think so. We have everything there to fight for it. I am no longer a rookie. I have a few years of experience and, although I have made some mistakes in my career, I’ve learned a lot from them and I hope to complete the season this year without mistakes. This category is very difficult and racing as part of a group is always tough, but we will try.”
Do you think that at this moment of your career are on the right team?
“Yes, this team is very experienced and have already won numerous times. They’re used to winning and this makes you feel calm and that everything is in your favour to fight at the front in every race.”
Which rivals do you think will be in contention for the world title this year?
“I don’t know. It’s hard to say –even more so at this point in the preseason. Last year it seemed like it would be one thing and ended up being something totally different. Of course, in the large group that will be in the fight for the World Championship, I hope to be one of them.”
So far, what are your impressions of the new bike?
“The bike is going well; I have a good feeling with it. We didn’t have to make many changes to the foundation we had and we found a good setup pretty quickly, so I am very satisfied. We have room for improvement still, and so we will make the most of the time remaining before Qatar. “
You share a garage with two promising riders: Karel Hanika and Brad Binder. How do you get on with them and what atmosphere is there inside the box?
“I think it’s very good. It is an issue that has never worried me, because I knew that having teammates like Brad [Binder] and Karel [Hanika] is very good for the team. We get on well and at the same time they are very strong riders who have great potential. I believe that together we can progress.”
Do you compete amongst yourselves?
“When I am working I focus on my own job. I don’t like looking at what others do, although obviously still all within the box, if they are the fastest, is easier to learn and see where you can improve.”
At Valencia in 2012 we saw a podium of Ajo Motorsport riders, with Danny [Kent], Sandro [Cortese] and Zulfhami [Khairuddin]. Do you think there is a chance of that happening again?
“It would be great. I’d be very happy [laughs].”
How do you see Portugal in the world of motorcycle racing?
“In Portugal the world of motorcycle racing is growing a lot and I’m doing my bit for that. I consider it part of the work that comes with being the only Portuguese competing in the World Championship. I hope that in the near future we have a Portuguese GP again. It would be a great joy for me.”
Last year you visited Argentina for the first time. How did you like the circuit at Termas de Río Hondo last year?
“I liked it very much. It is a very nice circuit. Although in the race I did not do very well, I think it is one of the nicest Grands Prix.”
Why did you decide to study dentistry?
“The purpose of completing my studies was to get into university and I did not like anything besides medicine, so I opted for that.”
What is it like combining your studies with the responsibility of being a rider?
“It’s a bit tricky. It’s not that it is difficult, it’s that it is hard to do what others do with half the amount of class time. Having the time and ability to discern between one thing and another is not easy because this sport takes up 80% of my day with physical and mental preparation. That makes it difficult to combine things, but I have the help of my college classmates and teachers, who are very supportive. “
Does that mean that in the future you don’t see yourself riding bikes?
“No, I think it has nothing to do with that. I do it because I like it and in the end riding is not a lifelong thing. Life in the paddock is not easy. If I were not a rider, I don’t know if I have the skills to be part of a team. I could be a Team Manager and have my own team in the World Championship, but that is totally uncertain. I think it’s important to always have a plan B that assures I can make ends meet in the future.”
Miguel, we follow you on Facebook and Instagram. Why don’t you use Twitter?
“Because I get the feeling that Twitter is not very popular in Portugal. Obviously I try to have a little presence on all social networks like Instagram and Facebook, but it is true that I have to seriously think about opening a Twitter account. I hope to do that soon.”
What is your favourite dinosaur?
“Well … [laughs and thinks]. The Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals before races?
“No, I’m not superstitious. I think luck is the result of the work you put in.”