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Miguel Oliveira, Ajo KTM Red Bull | Photo Team Ajo KTM General MotorSports 

Miguel Oliveira in Moto2: Make or break year

Miguel Oliveira, #44 Ajo KTM Red Bull | Photo Team Ajo KTM
Miguel Oli­veira, #44 Ajo KTM Red Bull | Pho­to Team Ajo KTM

By Paulo Araú­jo

Pre-season test sessions always on top show the time has come for the sole Portuguese in MotoGP:

THE RIGHT RIDER, ON THE RIGHT BIKE, AT THE RIGHT MOMENT!

In fact, the young­ster from South Lisbon’s Costa da Capar­ica was the fast­est right away in the first round of tests in Valen­cia, and for good meas­ure repeated the feat with his Red Bull KTM in Jerez a fez days ago.

On the first test day, he was the fast­est, end­ing with the 3rd. chro­no after the 3-day test. Apart from a race-sim­u­la­tion, he sprint-raced to a 1:42,316s, which would have given him the pole for the pre­vi­ous Span­ish GP ran at that track.

Going back to 2015, his biggest career wins had come with the same team that he now returned to, Ajo Motor­s­port. At the time, in Moto3, his KTM could not com­pete in the early races with the super­i­or top speed and accel­er­a­tion of even­tu­al win­ner Danny Kent’s Honda.

The Brit would man­age that advant­age to win by a mere six points, with Oli­veira dom­in­at­ing the sea­son-end races, win­ning 4 of the last 5 encoun­ters – and mak­ing the whole of Por­tugal dream in the pro­cess… his arrivals back at Lis­bon Air­port became the stuff of legend, with more and more TV crews join­ing the hun­dreds of fans hop­ing to catch a glimpse or selfie with their hero… 

Miguel Oliveira #44
Miguel Oli­veira #44

It was with nat­ur­al dis­may that the same fans saw the racer-dent­al medi­cine stu­dent line up in Moto 2 last year for a night­mare sea­son, strug­gling with a little-com­pet­it­ive ride, that spat him off time after time, the best achieved two lowly 9th. places, nine races gone by with no points scored. 

The end res­ult of a long sea­son, which now extends to 18 Grand Prix, was a dis­ap­point­ing 21st place and a mea­ger total of 36 points… 

Now, that seems all left behind for 2017: Miguel, refresh­ingly mod­est but artic­u­late among­st the often-awk­ward young riders of the class – speak­ing flu­ent Eng­lish, Span­ish and Itali­an – fits like a glove in the Ajo KTM form­a­tion, ran by former Finn GP rider Nik­las Ajo, that, true to his Red Bull main spon­sor, has only one aim: win whatever they enter.

Miguel Oliveira, Ajo KTM Red Bull | Photo Team Ajo KTM
Miguel Oli­veira, Ajo KTM Red Bull | Pho­to Team Ajo KTM

The reen­coun­ter may have seemed inev­it­able, but the com­pet­i­tion remains fierce… names like Alex Mar­quez, Thomas Luthi, Fran­co Mor­bidel­li, Takaaki Nak­agami, or Mat­tia Pas­ini. The proof of the pud­ding is next week­end of March 26th. in Qatar… fin­gers crossed!

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