Miguel Oliveira says his lack of confidence in KTM affording him a chance to become MotoGP world champion in the near future was the catalyst to him joining RNF Aprilia.
The Portuguese has campaigned KTM machinery since he joined the premier class with the Tech 3 squad in 2019, Oliveira scoring the French outfits maiden wins in Austria and Portugal the following year before a move to the factory KTM operation for 2021.
Having visited the top step of the podium a further three times over the past two seasons Oliveira then sensationally decided to switch to Aprilia satellite team RNF for 2023 after KTM looked to move him back to Tech 3 – a result of it signing of Ducati refugee Jack Miller – which has been rebranded as the factory GasGas squad, one of the Austrian manufacturers other brands.
With Oliveira’s confidence in KTM having already been shaken a few years ago when Brad Binder was chosen over him to replace Johann Zarco in the factory operation for 2020, the five-time MotoGP race winner said in an interview with Portuguese TV outlet Antena that he and KTM “had different ways of thinking”, leading to his decision to seek new pastures.
“I wouldn’t say that KTM behaved badly towards me at all, we simply had different ways of thinking,” said Oliveira.
“The restructuring of the team went hand in hand with the will to have a rider other than me there, these differences naturally made us distance ourselves and we did not have a future together.
“Not that the door wasn’t open because they really wanted me to stay and ride for the GASGAS, which is basically a KTM painted red.
“The idea was to bring back the GASGAS brand and have a pair of Iberian riders, because the brand is Iberian.
“They wanted a Spanish rider and a Portuguese rider, but I wasn’t very keen on the idea – I honestly believe that there are times in our lives when we need a change.”
Oliveira added that the chance to join the Aprilia family to compete with its continuously-improving RS-GP challenger – which scored the Italian marque’s first ever premier class win in the hands of Aleix Espargaro last season – was too good to turn down, adding that he feels his ambition of becoming world champion “will happen soon” with his new material.
“There are some trains that only pass once, and you need to take those opportunities. I was very keen to have that change and to get out of my comfort zone,” continued Oliveira.
“KTM gave me a lot of comfort for my sporting career, I had the next four years of my life guaranteed.
“But deep down I knew that wasn’t what I wanted, I wanted to experience new opportunities and actually be World Champion, which I believe will happen soon.”