Oliveira fights back from 18th on the grid to take brilliant 5th place in Austin
After yesterday’s difficult qualifying, in which he finished in 18th, Miguel Oliveira knew he would have a hard race ahead and set as his goal for this Sunday a result inside the points and already starting to look ahead for the next rounds. However, the Mahindra Racing youngster did a brilliant race, not only by scoring points, but also to close the list of the top 5.
The Portuguese rider had already shown significant improvement on his pace during the morning warm-up and when race time came he gave it all to present a magnificent performance. Oliveira recovered nine positions until lap twelfe, when the race was red-flagged due to Jasper Iwema’s nasty fall, but the day wasn’t over yet.
Since the race was still short of its two thirds minimum distance, Race Direction dictated a new starting procedure for a five-lap sprint. This time starting from 9th on the grid, the Almada youngster kept cool and made a good start for the last 27.5 km in which everything was at stake.
Presenting the same level of pace and performance shown during the first part of the race, in which his lap times were only beaten by the top three, Miguel Oliveira kept on recovering spots and ended up with a better result than the one he achieved on the season opener two weeks ago in Qatar; the Portuguese finished fifth, which made him not only the best non-KTM rider of the race, but also the best in the Championship where he is also fifth.
Miguel Oliveira: “I’m very happy with the result of this race. After two days of hard work, we managed to find out a reasonable solution for the chassis. We were also able to do a good start; the first laps were quite difficult because the front tire had to warm up considerably. But, all in all, it was a good race.
In the first race I was chasing the fifth, riding faster and faster and the tire was getting better and better. In the second race, with only five laps run, we had to be aggressive, make good exits from the turns and take risks with the brakes – which was where we could make up time. During the last lap, we were aware we could get to the fifth position and we ended up recovering thirteen positions in a circuit and a race that were very difficult for our bike. This was a very positive result, but we are now already with our minds set in Jerez, a circuit where we have a very good base to start working.”
Source: Miguel Oliveira Official Website