The 2021 rider market was always poised to be one of the most unpredictable with most contracts up for grabs at the end of the 2020 campaign. But there were few who had money on Pol Espargaro departing KTM to join Honda alongside Marc Marquez, whom HRC renewed for an unprecedented four years early in 2020.
When the dust had settled after the news, first revealed by Autosport, had broken, it didn't take long for reason and logic to take hold. The Honda is a difficult bike, requiring an aggressive riding style to extract the best from. In that respect, it wasn't that far removed from the KTM - though of course, when racing finally got underway the RC16 emerged as a much friendlier bike from previous years.
That made Espargaro a perfect fit for Honda. Now, in hindsight, it would be easy to question HRC's decision to move Alex Marquez out of the works outfit to LCR based on what we saw from the 2019 Moto2 champion in the second half of the season. But, with all the facts it had to hand, Honda's decision ultimately was the correct one. Not least when you consider Espargaro's history in grand prix racing.