Miguel Oliveira: Exclusive end-of-season interview

 In Moto3, News

We thought we’d put up another interview with one of our favourite riders, Portugal’s rising star – Miguel Oliveira, to continue to track his progress across 2012 and to look ahead to next season.
We’re spending some time in the Monlau Competicion box this weekend so we’ll be sharing plenty of photos with you of the riders and team at work – plus another interview with Miguel’s teammate Alex Rins…

Miguel, we spoke to you in Germany which was more or less the halfway point of the season. Now that you’ve been to the overseas races and you’re at the end of the season, how do you feel? How has the season been for you?
I feel that we’ve made a lot of progress, especially with the bike. As you know, this season we couldn’t have any test, only the rookies can test this year. So that meant with the new bike, the new frame, new everything it’s difficult when you cannot test. So we had one test on a track that is not on the calendar. And right away, we’ve made a lot of progress. Since that test I feel we’ve made a lot of improvements so our learning curve is increasing so that’s positive. We’ve also made one podium and we’ve also been fighting in the first group for the first positions and the first win. So I feel that we’ve improved all season.

With not being able to test, how much of the weekend do you need for trying new parts and set up and just getting the bike right?
You see it’s difficult. You arrive at a new circuit, for example the Asia rounds were a little bit hard. We got out on track on Friday, sometimes the weather wasn’t right and we weren’t sure if it was wet or dry so that made our work difficult and we couldn’t try things that we wanted to try. It’s difficult that way. Learning the track and try new things on the bike to see which direction we can take is sometimes difficult.

The tracks that were new to you this season, do you have any favourites, any one that you really liked?
Well, Phillip Island was a very nice track. For sure also Sepang in Malaysia. I think it’s difficult to chose one track really because all the tracks are really great.

Obviously this is a strong team, do you feel that put extra pressure on you or do you see that purely as an advantage?
It’s not an advantage nor extra pressure. Of course you have great sponsors behind you. Also we have really great people working for us so that makes it easier for you to learn. It’s not that the results have to come, working with these people makes you learn about a lot of things, being with great sponsors, caring about your image. You learn, you learn from that. So the technical part and also the marketing part, you learn from both sides.

Regarding your plans for next season, today a contract has been confirmed with Mahindra?
Yes, it’s a new project so I’m really excited, for many reasons. For being a Suter bike, a bike which I know. Also being able to take some people with me that I work with now that know the bike and that know the things that need to be done to improve. It’s great. It’s an exciting project and I’m really looking forward to start work with them.

When will be your first time on the bike?
It’s not been decided yet. Of course we want to make a test before the end of November because in December and January we cannot have any tests. For sure we want to do some kilometres with the new engine to see how it goes.

The Valencia circuit has been resurfaced. How do you like it? Does it make a big difference to before?
Well, it makes a difference on the bumps for sure. You are able to make some really good corner speed but we didn’t have any practice sessions in dry conditions yet, I think tomorrow we’ll be able to do that and to see if there really is any difference. In wet conditions yes, there’s some difference, mainly because of the bumps, it makes it easier.

So you think in the dry you’ll be able to squeeze some more time out?
Yes for sure. In these conditions it’s hard to choose, wet tyres, dry tyres. If you choose slick tyres it’s hard and you take a lot of risk and in the free practice there’s no need to do that.

Many thanks to the Monlau Competicion Moto3 Team.
And best of luck for the rest of the weekend Miguel.

Interview: Michaela Genz
Photos: Gareth Bouch

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