Miguel Oliveira MotoGP race, Thailand MotoGP 2 October 2022 // Gold & Goose / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202210020216 // Usage for editorial use only //
Miguel Oliveira says he “quickly understood” that a possible victory bid was on in the early stages of the Thailand Grand Prix swiftly moved up the field from 11th.
The KTM rider scored a second MotoGP win of the year after passing Jack Miller just past mid-distance in encounter held at the Chang International Circuit, the race held in similarly-wet conditions to the Indonesian GP back in March in which he also secured supremacy.
Having carved through the top ten runners from 11th on the grid to sit second after only half-a-dozen laps, Oliveira explained that he “quickly understood” that a fifth career premier class success was on as he began to close in race leader Jack Miller, the Portuguese racer “analysing” his target before snatching away a lead he was never to relinquish.
“It was difficult because the track was quite tricky in some points, especially on a few of the straights we had low visibility and aquaplaning, this was the main issue for me in the beginning,” explained Oliveira.
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“I was trying to get a clear track ahead but it was difficult to overtake without running wide or making a mistake and potentially losing the front.
“I could get to a point of the race where I was catching Jack (Miller) a little bit, so I could analyse well how my potential was in terms of maybe going faster and whether I could overtake him.
“I quickly understood that I could make an overtake, though it was not easy as I was faster in the last sector but he was faster out of Turn 12 so it was tricky to make a block-pass.
“I had really good edge grip out of Turn 11 which I think made the difference, my line was slightly different than his and I could also carry more speed through Turn 7 so I think these things combined gave me more margin to pull away and have a gap at the last part which was the crucial bit.
“I tried it once but it didn’t work out, then the second time I tried to make a slightly different manoeuvre and run beside him a little longer which worked, then I made a gap that I could manage to the end.”
Oliveira added that a break-through in how KTM set-up its RC16 for wet conditions during the 2021 campaign had really helped him to make the difference when conditions get slippy, though he also felt his instinctive feel for grip in sub-optimal conditions “in the first ten minutes” of the race was key to help him make much-needed early progress in the contest.
“We had some good races in the wet back in 2020 but we last year we found a really good set-up for the wet and since I’ve felt really comfortable on it, and also my ability to quickly understand the conditions which I think helps, it’s a combination of things,” continued Oliveira.
“In Motegi we had a lot of practice time in the wet, and you can see then the level of every rider becomes more even, it’s the first ten minutes of being in those conditions that are crucial to make a step and these first minutes are the most important in the race to give you the potential and indication in terms of feeling how much you can push.”