Oliveira storms to fantastic #AmericasGP 5th place in 200th career GP, DNF for Fernandez
The third race of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, delivered mixed emotions inside the CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team. Amidst windy but sunny conditions that have been a lot different from yesterday, Miguel Oliveira kicked off Sunday’s proceedings with a strong performance in the Warm Up, finishing in third place and setting the stage for an exciting day of racing.
For the main race though, he had to line up on row five of the grid with a long way and a tough race ahead. A stunning start catapulted him from P15 to P9 in the first sector. During the rest of the first lap, the Portuguese made up another position and crossed the line for the first time in a strong eighth and continued with a strong pace throughout the very hard 20 laps race. By halftime, he had already moved up to sixth place and was consistently doing lap times as fast as the top. On lap 14, he passed championship leader Marco Bezzecchi for fifth position and brought it home together with 13 valuable World Championship points.
Meanwhile, Raul Fernandez who had steadily improved his feeling throughout the weekend, made a good start to the race from his P19 grid position, quickly moving up to P15 in the first sector. By the end of lap one, he was in a strong 13th position and was settling into a rhythm. However, his hopes for a top finish were dashed when his bike broke down just six laps into the race, forcing him to retire.
Now, the MotoGP World Championship circus is flying home and gears up for the return to Europe in less than a fortnight at the Spanish circuit in Jerez de la Frontera.
The race was a bit eventful because of the crashes and the wind. We knew since the Warm Up that the conditions today were going to be a bit more tough. It was a challenge not to crash the first couple of laps, but then we managed to get a good pace and get into a rhythm that was comfortable. The team made an incredible job today, giving me a great and fast bike that performed well. Finally, it is a small victory for us to end fifth on a track, which is normally not great to me, and at the same time, it was my first race for Aprilia, that I could finish. So, I’m happy to get my season restarted like this.
We were unlucky today. I had a good start and was catching up to the group of Maverick (Viñales) and Miguel (Oliveira), but unfortunately, I had a mechanical issue and had to retire and end my race. Overall, both my team and Aprilia did a good job. At the end, we are racing and we may face many issues. We have to be positive, especially my feeling with the bike was improving a lot. I know that once we get a good result, we will see that we can do it. We will try again in Jerez. I am really positive and optimistic, I believe in my team and in Aprilia.