The two men are currently gearing up for battle in the FIM MotoGP World Championship season opener at the Qatar GP on March 28.
The 26-year-old Oliveira (pictured here), from Almada in Portugal, picked up his first two MotoGP wins last season at the Styrian GP and home Portuguese GP, which convinced team bosses that he was the man to replace Spaniard Pol Espargaró alongside South African Binder –who also picked up his maiden win at the Czech GP.
With everyone hoping for a longer season than the 14 races that occurred in a COVID-19 hit 2020 schedule, the duo have the tools to take on the likes of Suzuki’s reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir, his Suzuki team-mate Álex Rins, six-time Repsol Honda champion Marc Márquez, Ducati’s Jack Miller and a potent quartet of Yamaha riders in Franco Morbidelli, Maverick Viñales, Fabio Quartararo and seven-time champion Valentino Rossi.
Here is what the riders had to say ahead of the 2021 season opener:
Brad Binder: “2020 in general was a season where I feel we achieved a lot, a few good results and obviously with the first victory – or KTM’s first victory – being the main thing. But there were also many days when we had the potential to do so much more. For sure now the margin is a little bit smaller to try and improve but I think as the season went on last year, even though we had a little bit of a slump in the middle, things got better and better.
“I felt like I was improving not only for the results but in the way approaching the weekends and going session-by-session. At the moment I feel that we have a really, really strong package. We are in a good direction and I am super-excited to get back on the bike this year.”
Miguel Oliveira: “For sure to be world champion you need to have many details together at the same time and for that, depending on how the season is going and what is happening, generally we can find success through the project. Sometimes a 4th place will be a very good result and sometimes a 2nd place may not fulfil our expectations but you have to work through that process and right now, as a start base, I am thinking quite hard to set a bar of results that we can consider as successful.
“For sure being better than 2020 is already a good start. It is quite a relaxing factor to know that the bike is capable of winning but at the same time you cannot take anything for granted and when it comes to repeating success it becomes harder, so I don’t see it as a static job. I think every year you need to bring something ‘up’ on your side to keep a very good level in this championship. I feel I am able to work more on details in a factory team and to at least be more consistent. I think these are the tools that the factory team is going to give me. I have full conviction in my work.”
Photo courtesy Philip Platzer, Red Bull KTM
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