Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira says he is “really happy” to finish fifth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Misano, having fought back from a lowly 15th on the grid.
The Portuguese racer had looked competitive through practice, having managed a top ten run in three of the four sessions in the run up to qualifying-reflecting KTM’s collectively improved performance after the Austrian marque struggled for pace in last weekend’s first Misano encounter.
However a crash during the all-important Q1 session cost him a chance to improve late on, leaving him 15th on the grid while factory KTM riders Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder managed fourth and sixth respectively.
The Styrian GP victor displayed pace comparative with the leaders during the Emilia Romagna contest though, making his way up to fifth as he passed team-mate Iker Lecuona late on, leaving him to rue his messy Saturday.
“It was horrible starting that far back and having to be in the middle of the pack with no where go in the first laps and trying to recover a couple of positions,” said Oliveira.
“We managed to overtake quite a few riders and our pace was really good and we could manage to not lose much time (through overtaking) and get fifth place, which after the crashes and bad qualifying yesterday is a great result for us.
“We know the (pace difference to leaders) was not so much, but our grid position affected our race a lot.”
Oliveira reckons that the significant track time afforded to the riders at Misano across the two events, plus Tuesday’s test day, meant that qualifying was trickier than usual due to all bikes being at their “optimal”, thus making it more difficult to “make a difference” in qualifying.
“We’ve all ridden at this track for six days and now everyone is used to everything and all the bikes are at their optimal so the pack was really close and we couldn’t make a difference in qualifying to get up front,” continued the 2019 Moto2 vice champion.
“For sure it decreased our chances to get a podium, but I’m really happy to finish in fifth and take these important points for the championship.”
Oliveira’s strong points score solidified his top ten position in the riders standings heading to the Catalan GP this weekend, having now moved up to eighth following the demise of Binder and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi during the race.
He remains just 25 points from points leader Andrea Dovizioso in what has been a season plagued by inconsistency from most riders so far, with only third-placed Maverick Vinales having stood on the rostrum more than twice this year so far-the top 11 riders covered by just 31 points.