Miguel Oliveira remains “in the hunt” despite “four days of wrestling with the same difficult sensation.”

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Trackhouse rider Miguel Oliveira makes progress in ironing out turning issues with the 2024 factory Aprilia.

“Better late than never,” remarked Miguel Oliveira after a “competitive” final day of pre-season testing on the 2024 factory-spec Aprilia in Qatar, following “four days with the same bad feeling.”

The Trackhouse rider expressed a wish for the progress to have arrived earlier, having diligently worked through various chassis and aero options to address the RS-GP’s lack of turning.

Starting the Qatar test in a disappointing 21st place, Oliveira’s fortunes turned around after lackluster performances of 15th, 19th, and 18th over the three days of the Sepang test.

“After day one at Losail,” Oliveira had shared, “I’m losing significant time in the fast corners due to a lack of turning, echoing the same feeling I experienced in Sepang.”

He explained further, “It’s particularly noticeable in the trail braking phase. Once you initiate the corner, there’s this rear sliding followed by a front-end push, creating a brief moment of instability that causes the bike to run wide.”

“Perhaps it wasn’t as pronounced in Sepang, but here it’s more severe, highlighting the urgent need to address this issue without sacrificing the aspects that are currently functioning adequately.”

The key disparity between the 2022-spec Aprilia that Oliveira rode last season and the 2023 version he tested at the Misano test lies in the drastic aerodynamic package.

Similar to factory rider Maverick Vinales, Oliveira seemed to switch back to the standard rear aero, foregoing the new, attention-grabbing diffuser design that Aleix Espargaro found immediately to his liking.

“The primary difference with the new bike is undoubtedly the aerodynamic package, the way this bike interacts with the air,” Oliveira explained. “However, I couldn’t provide many specifics because I’m not entirely certain.”

“My main concern is the lack of turning, and I need to see quick improvements in that aspect; otherwise, it will be challenging.”

To Oliveira’s relief, the turning did show signs of improvement on the final day, as he climbed to 12th place (+0.884). However, the time lost indicates that he will enter the new season on March 8-10 far from completely ready.

“It was an improved day. I’m not completely content, but we did take a solid step forward. It’s just unfortunate that we found a good feeling too late,” expressed the five-time KTM race winner.

“Ultimately, it was four days with the same unfavorable sensation, and today, with a slightly adjusted bike, I could finally begin to make progress and be competitive.

“I couldn’t extract the maximum from the entire bike because your braking markers, your riding style, they all hinge on having a good bike day after day, allowing you to refine those crucial points.”

“Additionally, we were gradually picking up pace, then encountered a setback with one bike, but when it came to the time-attacks, everything more or less fell into place,” Oliveira noted.

Meanwhile, teammate Raul Fernandez impressed by clocking the fifth fastest time on the 2023 spec bike.

Stay tuned with We4GP for more news.

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