Cryptodata RNF’s Miguel Oliveira was choosing to look on the brighter side of his strong pace during the opening round of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship despite seeing two podium results go wanting in both the Portimao Sprint Race and Feature event.
The home favourite came into the weekend the local focus very much on him to see whether he could tap into the form that saw him secure a memorably dominant victory on the Tech 3 KTM in the inaugural Portimao MotoGP race in 2020.
For the most part he did just that, despite a shaky start that left him 19th on the timesheets at the end of Friday’s practice sessions due to a vicious late high-side, Oliveira going on to break out of Q1 to qualify fourth.
Having switched to RNF Racing over the winter - itself having replaced its Yamahas with a satellite Aprilia supply - Oliveira spent much of the Sprint Race circulating as the top RS-GP rider, only to see his hopes of a third place finish dashed on the final lap when he out-braked himself at Turn 11, dropping him to seventh.
Eager to make amends in the main GP, Oliveira got off to a superb start to lead into Turn 1, but having dipped to second by lap three, was then torpedoed by an errant Marc Marquez, wiping both out of the race.
Despite the force of the blunt impact, Oliveira escaped without injury and while the loss of another podium shot left him disappointed, he was otherwise encouraged by his and RNF Aprilia’s performance over the weekend.
“It was a shame to end my home GP in two laps, it’s something that I wasn’t expecting for sure,” he remarked.
“Anyway I think we can be proud of the progression we had coming from a difficult Friday, qualifying like we did yesterday, having the podium like we had in hand in the last lap in the sprint race, the start we made today, leading.
“I think today we had a clear opportunity to score a podium. I am still very bruised in my hip, so hopefully I will do everything I can to be fully fit for Argentina next weekend.”
Marquez has received a double long-lap penalty for next weekend’s Argentina MotoGP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for his part in the incident that eliminated Oliveira.