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Pol Espargaró: "I hope to fight with Márquez for the title"

The need to adapt to a new team, the problems presented by last year’s prototype and the intermittent absence of his team-mate largely justified Pol Espargaró’s result in his debut with the official Honda team, but in his second season , the 30-year-old Spanish runner knows that the credit has run out and that this year he must take a step forward.

“It is a very different year from the previous one, coming to the team with experience and knowing everything a little is important for confidence and strengthening the bond. Last year was not good, I did not feel comfortable with the bike and the results made it clear, but in the middle of the year we found a setup that gave me more grip, the pity is that in Valencia I couldn’t run, I felt ready to win, that means that now we started from scratch but the sensations at one lap and at the pace are good despite the fact that the bike is new. Let’s see if we are competitive in Mandalika”, Pol explained this Tuesday after the official presentation of the Honda team for the 2022 season.

In the Sepang tests, both Pol and his teammate Marc Márquez, who returns after another stoppage due to injury, were able to test the new Honda prototype, which breaks a bit with the past. A bike that HRC hopes all riders can feel comfortable with.

“All the riders did our part in the development of the new bike, I have tried to convey to the engineers during all this time what I thought it lacked, especially in terms of grip, which is what I missed the most this year. We have seen that there is a big change after riding it, let’s see if it helps us this year,” he said.

With Márquez back and on the way to once again being the clear favorite for the title, the task for Pol is not easy, since the first thing he must win is his own teammate.

“We should be able to, it’s an obligation and that’s why I’m here. It’s not easy to fight Marc with any bike, and with the same weapons, less so. I came to Honda because I wanted to face this challenge. Last year it wasn’t possible, this year the bike is very different and so is my preparation. Marc is going to be fighting for the title and I would like to reach the end by winning races and fighting with him for the championship”, the goal was set, the same one imposed by HRC.

Pol does not understand that it is an extra pressure to have Márquez one hundred percent back.

“The first to suffer from Marc not being one hundred percent last year was me, at times I felt that I had no information, that he was the fastest driver in the factory, but without references. the development and that it marks the limits of the bike is important, knowing that you can always give a little more can help you”.

“The first thing you have to win is your teammate. This is something that all riders will say but it is real and in my case I am in the most difficult place because my partner is one of the best riders in MotoGP history. It means that my work is going to be harder than that of the other drivers, but this is also going to give me more motivation. Trying to beat a rider for being tenth is not the same as trying to beat the number one.”

The improvement that the rider from Granollers has requested the most from Honda lies in the grip of the bike, the cornerstone of Pol’s riding.

“Last year I had a very big slab, I couldn’t use the rear brake and that made me suffer in the corners, the bike changed during the year and that enhanced my qualities, but it’s still too early to talk, we have to wait and see what happens in Mandalika, because we have three days of work ahead of us and at the moment we have only tested the bike in Sepang”.

At some moments last season the levels of self-demand that Espargaró put on came to throw him off center, and this year he sets the goal of beating whoever has won the most with this bike.

“All my life I have been very demanding with myself, I do not understand another way to compete, you have to be ambitious and have a lot of desire to win to achieve it. I try to do my best and whether I succeed or not, every year I try. I have fought for a long time being where I am and not achieving the challenges I set for myself would make me very frustrated. I feel at the best moment of my career, I am smarter and I am better physically than ever, problems make you strong and if there is a year in which you have it could be, it could be this one. I’m really looking forward to fighting for the title”, he underlined, without this putting pressure on him.

“We refer to pressure as something negative and sometimes it is positive, it means that you have a role in your career, if you don’t have pressure in the elite you are going badly. Last year there was pressure, but this is what makes you improve.”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

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