Oliveira plays down hopes over home MotoGP win chances

Lewis Duncan
·2 min read

Oliveira stormed to a maiden MotoGP pole on Saturday at the Algarve International Circuit, beating Franco Morbidelli by 0.044 seconds.

The Tech3 rider admits he will have “very strong opponents” to contend with at the start of the race, and on top of that tyre wear remains a major unknown for the field, leading Oliveira to exercise caution in his predictions for Sunday’s race.

“I think it’s very hard to say because we never had the race here and to get away you need many things to go in your favour,” he said when asked if he thinks he can dominate from pole. “For sure it’s a nice way to win, more relaxed. As I said before, in the beginning I feel we have very strong opponents.

“After 15 laps I don’t know what’s going to happen with the tyres. We need to be optimistic and confident, but not too much.”

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When asked if racing at home even without fans in attendance due to COVID-19 added pressure, Oliveira said: “No, I don’t see it as an extra pressure. For me, it’s a privilege to be able to race here, that’s it. I want to do good, I want to have fun.

“The fact that we race here in Portugal makes its special for me. I just have to enjoy it, that’s the way I see it.”

The Styrian Grand Prix winner’s race pace in Saturday’s FP4 session was not outstanding, but his FP2 race runs showed promise and he feels he can be consistent on Sunday.

“Yes, I feel strong for sure and my pace is looking very promising for tomorrow,” he added. “It’s true that we have four tyre compounds to test at the same time as we needed to sort out the set-up of the bike.

“So, it’s not easy. And I think all of us are going to the race not knowing what is going to happen after 15 laps. But I’m relaxed. On top of the bike I feel very good, so I think I can be constant throughout the race.”