SportMotoGPEspargaró takes a step forward: "The Honda engineers pay...

Espargaró takes a step forward: "The Honda engineers pay attention to me"

The unfortunate accident that Marc Márquez suffered two weeks ago practicing Enduro will prevent him, among many other things, from going out on the track in the decisive 2022 pre-season tests, which will take place next week in Jerez .

In these tests, the engineers of all the teams, not only Honda , will have to collect the latest data and comments from the riders, after testing the initial prototypes of the next season for two days, and working with them during December and January on the bike. which will be put on the track at the Sepang tests in February, where the riders will already have the bike with which they will start the season.

With Marc’s injury, Pol Espargaró will have to take a step forward, assume stripes and put himself at the forefront of the development of the motorcycle, something that does not come to him again and that he already did successfully at KTM , although with the Austrian manufacturer it took several years to get it.

A first sketch of the Honda 2022 could be seen in the Misano test, a machine that Marc Márquez cataloged as “the most different Honda he had tried”, at least at the design level it seemed so.

In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com , Pol Espargaró spoke about that first prototype tested at the Misano test last September.

“Personally I didn’t notice so much difference between the new bike and this year’s, but that comment must be put into context. This year we are suffering a lot in low grip conditions and in the Misano tests the grip was very high. So, putting the new bike on the track for the first time in these conditions is not the best reference we can have, and we have to be clear about that. The conclusions must be drawn in the worst circuits, like in Barcelona where we suffered a lot from grip. We have to keep testing this bike and see what it offers us, it brought us very positive things in the Misano test, but also very negative things that need to be solved. I think it was not the definitive bike that we are going to have now in Jerez ”, explained Pol.

As is logical, the rider has made his own requests to the engineers of how he wants the final bike of 2022 to be.

“I am a rider who needs grip at the rear, a lot of grip. It sounds like something cliché, there are many riders who ask for rear grip, but I think that few are capable of having a performance like the one I can give with that grip. On KTM , the more grip we had, the faster I was and the slower my teammates. It is in these conditions that I can ride faster and more comfortably”, he points out.

“Logically, this greater grip generates other problems that must be solved, but next year’s bike is very focused on that aspect, the bike we are finishing with this year is very similar, in geometry, to the one we will have at start of 2022, and personally I am already preparing myself and learning as many tricks as possible to be able to manage this extra rear grip. But, without a doubt, I need maximum rear grip to work, in Misano we had it and things went very well”.

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Despite the fact that it is only his first year at Honda and that the results have been difficult to come by, Pol claims to have a good rapport with the HRC engineers, and admits that they pay attention to him.

“Yes, they listen to me. It is difficult, obviously communication with the Japanese is not easy, but within the team we have Europeans who help us and who have more experience working with them than me”, explains the rider.

“Coming from KTM , the way of working with the engineers is very different, you can’t even imagine it. How you have to explain things, how they understand or interpret it, is very different, it is something that you have to work on and experience to be more and more united”, he reveals.

One of the points of support for Pol this year has been his technical team and, above all, his track engineer, Ramón Aurín .

“I am very lucky to have an excellent technical team, with Ramón who has been working at Honda for many years and that makes things a lot easier for me, but I admit that it is much more complicated than what I experienced in the past”, referring to KTM .

Pol Espargaro Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team

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Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Enea Bastianini, Esponsorama Racing, Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

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Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Enea Bastianini, Esponsorama Racing, Pol Espargaró, Repsol Honda Team, MiniGP

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Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

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Podio: winner Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda Team, second place Pol Espargaró, Repsol Honda Team

Podio: ganador Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda Team, segundo lugar Pol Espargaró, Repsol Honda Team

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