Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira is happy to be able to fight the factory KTM of Pol Espargaro with the MotoGP rookie already ahead of Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin.
In the two races so far, Oliveira has looked much better abode the KTM than Zarco and Syahrin, with the latter two only getting their first taste of the bike in 2019. It is the first time for Oliveira too in MotoGP, but the Portuguese has ridden KTM in lower categories.
In fact, the Tech 3 KTM rider finished close to the factory rider Espargaro in Argentina MotoGP race as Oliveira scored his first points in 11th while Espargaro was 10th – thanks to the crash between Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli.
“Two races in, I can safely say I’m adapting quite good,” said Oliveira. “We know we have our struggles but already I’m battling with the top guy of KTM, who has much more experience than me, so I think it shows I’m adapting good to the category and the bike.
“And I think it’s definitely positive this start of the season. Everything in Argentina was really tight but we managed to control the race. We went with the medium rear choice, which we knew was not going to be perfect in terms of speed.
“But at least for the consistency of the tyre we knew this was the best option. I felt good on the bike. At the end, I was coming closer to Pol and Aleix and we’re definitely working on a good direction.” He is the third best rookie so far but within KTM he is placed well.
His teammate Syahrin has been struggling to adapt to KTM like Zarco – so much so that Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal came hard on the Malaysian like he did in 2018 at Misano where he believes that it is all in Syahrin’s head more than the bike.
Poncharal knows that the Malaysian has the ability but he needs to show it on track. Syahrin finished 20th in Qatar but came close to scoring in Argentina with 16th position, one behind the other struggling KTM rider, Zarco.
The Frenchman was relieved to score a point in the end but admitted that he still hasn’t found the sweet spot for him to be able to show the potential he has. “I struggled all the race and nearly hit Lorenzo at the beginning which almost put me in last place,” he said.
“I had a good feeling in the first eight laps but could not pass my opponents and then it began to be harder and harder to ride the bike. I used a lot of energy to get in the points and was passed by two riders and in the end was lucky to get 15th position.
“It is difficult to have these kinds of races. At the moment I cannot ride how I want but will work to the maximum with the team to adapt to this condition. Later we will have more things to work on. Pol and Miguel had a nice race.
“So, if I can at least get close to them or be the first KTM will be some satisfaction but to get near the top we’ll need to do some other things. I want to keep as positive as possible and I know that all what we are going through now will make me stronger in the future.”