Oliveira leads awe-inspiring parade from Portimão
The home hero rides his KTM from the town centre to the circuit, flanked by a veritable army of fans
Wednesday, 20 April 2022
A home hero, a KTM, and a parade like no other: ahead of the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal, the Algarve proved the perfect back drop for a truly awe-inspiring pre-event as home hero Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) led a procession of hundreds of bikes from the centre of Portimão to the circuit.
The event began in the town by the waterfront, with fans gathering for a glimpse of their hero as Oliveira took to the stage, with Mayor of Portimão Isilda Gomes and circuit CEO Paulo Pinheiro also in attendance. After talking to the fans and revealing a special helmet design too, Oliveira then went down to the crowd, signed some autographs, and took more than a few selfies. Then it was time to get suited and booted for the ride to the track – for both rider and fans.
Riding alongside and following a MotoGP™ rider – who is riding a MotoGP™ bike – is a truly unique opportunity, and an awe-inspiring number of bikers weren’t about to pass that up. Once Oliveira’s RC16 was warmed up and ready to go, the procession took off from the town and the hundreds of bikes slotted in behind as the parade snaked its way up towards the track. With the journey taking more than half an hour, there was more than enough time for the fans to soak in the experience… and the experience was still far from over.
This time, the track wasn’t simply a destination. It awaited with another unique opportunity: a lap of the venue, with a MotoGP™ rider on a MotoGP™ bike. Thundering through the gates and up towards the paddock, the parade headed from the road onto the circuit for a lap of the iconic rollercoaster, with Oliveira remaining front and centre.
Miguel Oliveira: “We had a good comparison last year with fans and without, and for sure this season we wanted to also to make something special, a pre-event and it had to involve the fans. It was a great opportunity, the last time I rode a MotoGP machine on the street was in August after my win in Spielberg, so now we got the chance to ride it again and it’s quite special – this time even more because they can follow me, and it’s really cool.
“I think everyone who loves motorcycles and riding… I mean, if I put myself in their shoes I wouldn’t miss this chance! It’s a huge opportunity to ride, see these bikes close up, which are amazing and quite unique. I wouldn’t want to miss it! It’s a great day.
“My expectations for the weekend is to enjoy the weekend and get a good result, haha. Being in Portugal gives me an extra boost and motivation that whatever happened before doesn’t really matter, it’s all about enjoying the weekend and doing the best we can.”
MotoGP™ is its own orchestra when the revs go up and the lights go out every Sunday, but the grid full of fans gave even the world’s fastest motorcycle racing Championship a run for its money on sheer energy and noise. If Portugal’s love of MotoGP™ and Miguel Oliveira needed an introduction, in 2022 it got one in serious style. And now it’s time for the rest of the grid to line up alongside the home hero and take on the former winner on familiar turf, so make sure to tune in for the 2022 Portuguese on Sunday at 13:00 (GMT +1).
More, from a press release issued by KTM Factory Racing:
OLIVEIRA SETS THE EARLY PACE IN PORTUGAL…WITH HUNDREDS OF FANS IN TOW!
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Miguel Oliveira felt the pressure of heading ‘the pack’ for the second time in just two years at the Algarve International Circuit. Instead of 23 other MotoGP™ riders, the 27-year-old was instead chased by hundreds of excited fans for a lap around the stunning Portuguese facility ahead of the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal and the fifth round of the 2022 championship this weekend.
Oliveira, who won the very first MotoGP Grand Prix at the venue two hours south of Lisbon in November 2020, fronted a large posse of supporters with his KTM RC16 as the ‘ride-out’ started in Portimao and finished with a circulation of the dipping and fast 4.6km circuit.
For many it was the first and only time to get up-close with a full-race spec MotoGP fire-breather, for Oliveira it was the opportunity to stoke the fire of the passionate native fans even further ahead of the GP fixture where #88 is expected to be a main protagonist. It wasn’t all easy-going in the windy conditions however: the KTM RC16 is designed for the smooth asphalt of the racetrack, not the bumpy, speed limits of a normal road!
The convoy made it to the Algarve International Circuit in fine time. From there the cavalcade rode the crests of the undulating course to finish on the start grid in style with a photo opp.
Miguel Oliveira: “This has been amazing, a great pleasure. We always wanted to do something special here for the fans and this was very cool. If I would put myself in their position and had the chance to ride along with a MotoGP bike – which is quite a unique machine – and then onto the track then there is no way I would have missed it. I couldn’t believe the amount of bikes I saw. It’s a shame we couldn’t ride for longer. Having the RC16 on the road was super-strange. You can definitely see that these bikes were not made to go slow! I was only just keeping the engine on. When we got to the track then this was more our environment. I hope we can so something like this again because every time you take one of these bikes out of context then it is beautiful. It’s been a great day and now my expectation is to have a good weekend and make a strong result. Being in Portugal gives me this strong boost and motivation in a way that everything that happened before doesn’t matter.”
The Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal, the first European race this season, gets underway with Free Practice 1 on Friday at 10.55 CET.