Miguel Oliveira wins three-way battle in last corner for first MotoGP victory

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Miguel Oliveira earned his first victory in premier series of MotoGP in dramatic fashion Sunday, passing the top two riders on the final corner of the Grand Prix of Styria.

The Portuguese rider for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team snatched the lead after a duel between Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro, becoming the first MotoGP premier class winner from his country. Miller finished second ahead of Espargaro.

“Happy and proud; there is for sure many reasons to be happy about this day,” Oliveira said in the postrace news conference. “It was a win in the home of KTM and Red Bull, so this is extra special. First one for me. Throughout the whole weekend, we (did) a good job.

“Just really happy. My feet are on the ground, but my head is for sure floating around a little bit. Feel full of happiness for not only me but my family, Portuguese fans. Everyone.”

Oliveira became the third first-time winner of a season that has been left wide open by the injury to defending series champion Marc Marquez in the season opener.

MotoGP runner-up Jack Miller (right) and winner Miguel Oliveira share a moment on the podium after the Grand Prix of Styria (Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images).

Points leader Fabio Quartararo, who won the first two races of the season, and rookie Brad Binder also became first-time winners this year.

“I don’t know if there is any specific reason,” Oliveira said about the trend. “Just my opinion, once Marquez was out, I think all of a sudden, everyone started to feel like all of a sudden they could win races and championships. I think this feeling is still floating around a little bit.

“This is why there’s not a clear favorite for the championship fight. But I think it’s also still quite early to define that. Hopefully in the next few races, we see who is more consistently on the podium and making more points, because at the end, that’s what is going to make the difference.”

Through five races, Quartararo holds a three-point lead (70-67) in the championship standings over Andrea Dovizioso, who won last week’s race in Austria.