Espargaro says Honda MotoGP troubles mirror early KTM years

Pol Espargaro says his difficult first season with Honda in MotoGP mirrors the early years of his stint with KTM when the manufacturer stepped into the premier class.

Espargaro says Honda MotoGP troubles mirror early KTM years

Honda currently sits fifth out six in the constructors’ standings after seven races in 2021 as all of its riders have struggled for form on the tricky RC213V.

After a promising five days of testing in Qatar and displaying podium pace in both Losail races, Espargaro’s maiden Honda season has failed to deliver on that early promise. The Spaniard’s best result so far is eighth, coming in the Qatar and French Grands Prix.

Crashing out of last weekend’s Catalan GP, Espargaro admits his morale is low but is convinced he can transform Honda fortunes just as he did at KTM.

“Well, no my morale was already low before here,” Espargaro said.

“I’ve been in this situation before with KTM in the first years, having a lot of problems and with not the best bike, and we turned the situation around. I have a feeling we’re going to turn around the situation.

“I don’t know when or if it’s going to start from tomorrow on, because I think to understand we need big parts to make it and I think still we are studying how to manage.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team, Iker Lecuona, Red Bull KTM Tech 3

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team, Iker Lecuona, Red Bull KTM Tech 3

Photo by: MotoGP

“But in one stage for sure we are going to turn it, the only question is when.”

Team-mate Marc Marquez also crashed out of the Catalan GP following the “best seven laps of the year” as he ran in the podium positions.

Marquez explains the main issue with the 2021 RC213V stems from a lack of rear grip, which is making for poor acceleration but is also causing problems under braking too.

“Basically, the thing is that it’s easy to say it but difficult to gain and to find exactly the way to improve,” Marquez said.

“But it’s true we have a problem, which is in the acceleration side we cannot get the grip and in the entry we cannot stop the bike because the rear we don’t have the grip also.

“It’s two different problems in two different areas, but I think it’s going on the same way the solution.

“In the stopping we are braking late, but when we stop with a lot of banking these things happen like me and Pol today [crashes].

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“To understand and give, you will slow down, you will not crash. But then another point is we’re losing a lot on acceleration side because we don’t get the grip, if you lose in acceleration side you lose all the straight.

“All these things don’t help over race distance.”

Should Honda fail to score a podium in 2021 it will gain concessions for next season, permitting it to in-season engine development and private testing with its race riders.

Marquez doesn’t believe Honda will get that far though as he is convinced it will score a podium, but Espargaro conceded HRC would welcome those benefits right now.

shares
comments

Related video

Brembo developing bigger MotoGP brake discs after Barcelona test
Previous article

Brembo developing bigger MotoGP brake discs after Barcelona test

Next article

Austria MotoGP races to be open to full capacity crowds

Austria MotoGP races to be open to full capacity crowds
How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races Plus

How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races

With the expansion of the calendar to 21 grands prix and the introduction of sprint races, the 2023 MotoGP season will take the riders to almost 1,300 kilometres of competition more than this year, a factor that forces adjustments in their physical preparations.

The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend Plus

The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend

Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Autosport – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend

MotoGP
Dec 6, 2022
Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022
Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Plus

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

MotoGP
Nov 25, 2022
Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Plus

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why the new MotoGP world champion has a stronger character than it seems Plus

Why the new MotoGP world champion has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Plus

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Plus

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022