The current MotoGP season is up and running. Needless to say, we are in for one hell of a ride now that Marc Marquez has announced that he will be making a grand comeback at this weekend’s race. Talking about Repsol Honda’s lineup for this year, Marquez is accompanied by Pol Espargaro. Ardent MotoGP fans might remember that Pol managed to snatch the 2013 Moto2 World Championship and has been very consistent with his performance in the premier class as well.
He marked his debut in the premier class with a satellite Yamaha. Pol Espargaro regularly fought with the factory teams before moving to KTM to help them develop their MotoGP machine.
Last year witnessed KTM actually giving a tough fight to the established players for the first time, all thanks to the able duo of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder. This time around, Pol has joined the Repsol Honda team and we recently got a chance to interact with the Spanish racer. Here’s an excerpt:
- You and Marc have been great rivals in the past and now you are in the same team? How does that feel?
Yeah, Marc and I have been racing together for a long time now. For sure when we were first teammates back as kids I would have never thought we’d be teammates in the best team in the world! I am a couple of years older than him so after we were very small and lots of ages have been competing together, our paths changed a little bit but we met again in 125cc and Moto2 World Championships with some really nice battles. It is great to be in the same team as his, he is the reference and fighting against him has always helped to improve my level.
- Many have said that you do not like docile motorcycles, you like to fight with them. In that sense, is the Repsol Honda to your satisfaction?
So far I am enjoying the Honda a lot, it’s true that I can use my ‘natural’ riding style more on this bike. The level of all the bikes in MotoGP is quite even now but they each need a certain style. My natural style is to really push the bike, guide it and brake very hard – this is so far working well on the Honda because it is good under braking.
- You had a great and quite consistent season in 2020 despite all the riders going up and down the table. How did you manage that?
A lot of hard work, we started that project at the back and two seconds from pole in 2017! 2020 was a strange season for everyone so staying focused was important. But honestly, there was not one thing that happened, it was a number of factors. From the pre-season we knew it would be a good year but I think finally the results took some by surprise.
- The stakes are high now that you’re at Repsol Honda so can we expect to see you fighting at the front right from the get-go?
The objective is to fight for the World Championship, that’s what this team expects. Testing grows more and more limited each year. I would love to say ‘yes, we can fight for wins from the first race’ but I do not think this is realistic. It will take some races but we can get there, I think this has been the season with the least testing in MotoGP history – just five days and one day we could not ride because of the conditions.
- Can we expect you and Marquez to reignite your rivalry from the Moto2 days?
I hope so, because this means we will be fighting for the top positions. In Moto2 we had a lot of great battles and I learned a lot. In racing the first person you have to try and beat is your teammate, so we will keep pushing to fight for the top positions and fight with Marc when he returns.
Action from MOTO GP Grande Prémio 888 de Portugal Main Race will be LIVE on EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT HD from 15:30 Hrs (03:30 pm IST) onwards on Sunday, 18th April 2021. The same will be live streamed on discovery + app.