Honda's 2020 MotoGP slump "didn't bother me" - Espargaro

Pol Espargaro admits Honda's tough start to the 2020 MotoGP season "didn't bother me" as he knew from his experience with KTM he could turn the bike around

Honda's 2020 MotoGP slump "didn't bother me" - Espargaro

Honda suffered its first winless season in the premier class since it returned full-time in 1982, largely a result of six-time world champion Marc Marquez's absence after breaking his arm in the Spanish Grand Prix.

HRC endured a tough winter with its 2020 RC213V, largely as a result of the change to Michelin's rear tyre construction and turning issues caused by its new aerodynamic package.

PLUS: Why Espargaro faces Marquez at Honda with no fear

Its struggles continued into the first half of the year as rookie Alex Marquez adapted to MotoGP and LCR's Cal Crutchlow battled injury.

But a raft of changes to the bike at the post-San Marino GP test transformed Marquez's fortunes and he went on to score back-to-back podiums at the French and Aragon GPs.

However, Honda's tally of two rostrums, leaving it second-last in the constructors' table, was in stark contrast to KTM's three victories and haul of five podiums with Espargaro.

Espargaro admits he wasn't worried about Honda's form in 2020 as he proved he could "make a bike work" with KTM in the space of four years - with the RC16, he claims, that "nothing was working" on.

"In the end - I will not tell you lies - it didn't bother me even one moment because I started the KTM project in Qatar [in 2017] at 3.5 seconds off the first," he told Autosport in Portugal when asked if Honda's upturn in form mid-season offered him relief.

"So, we could make a bike work with four years from a bike that was not really working -nothing was working, trust me.

"It was a very difficult bike at the beginning. Now we are fighting for something great and I mean Honda has been up and down throughout history, but always it's been there.

"Maybe this first year is not going to be good, but second year for sure the bike is going to be there.

"This happens in the competition world where manufacturers go better and go worse, also KTM was very bad and now it's very good.

"Sure, it's going to come one day that the bike is not going to be as good as everyone expects, this happens.

"For sure, Honda took me not just because I'm fast, but also because I was able to create a group of people as KTM and make everyone work good and I was giving them correct info to develop a good bike and this is part of my job."

Espargaro ended his final year with KTM fifth in the standings and without a victory, though he admitted last month he had "no regrets" about this.

shares
comments
Crutchlow: Honda wanted me to be MotoGP, WSBK replacement rider
Previous article

Crutchlow: Honda wanted me to be MotoGP, WSBK replacement rider

Next article

MotoGP champion Marquez "seeing the positives" after third operation

MotoGP champion Marquez "seeing the positives" after third operation
Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era Plus

Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era

The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. Key paddock figures explain why.

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2022
Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star? Plus

Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star?

Valentino Rossi’s protégés stole the show at Assen as Francesco Bagnaia stormed to victory to arrest a recent barren run. But it was the rider in second, on Bagnaia’s old bike, who had all eyes on him. Securing his and the VR46 team’s first MotoGP podium, Marco Bezzecchi has all the characteristics that made his mentor special

MotoGP
Jun 27, 2022
How Quartararo is evoking an absent MotoGP great in 2022 Plus

How Quartararo is evoking an absent MotoGP great in 2022

OPINION: Fabio Quartararo has seized control of the 2022 MotoGP world standings after another dominant victory as his nearest rivals faltered. And he is very much heading towards a second championship echoing how the dominator of the last decade achieved much of his success

MotoGP
Jun 20, 2022
The human importance of Marquez’s latest enforced MotoGP absence Plus

The human importance of Marquez’s latest enforced MotoGP absence

OPINION: Marc Marquez will likely sit out the remainder of the 2022 MotoGP season to undergo a fourth major operation on the right arm he badly broke in 2020. It is hoped it will return him to his brilliant best after a tough start to the season without a podium to his name. But it’s the human victory that will far outweigh any future on-track success he may go on to have

MotoGP
May 31, 2022
Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma Plus

Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma

OPINION: The French Grand Prix looks to have made Ducati’s decision on its factory team line-up simpler, as Enea Bastianini stormed to his third win of the campaign and Jorge Martin crashed out for a fifth time in 2022. But, as Ducati suggests to Autosport, it remains in the strongest position in a wild rider market

MotoGP
May 16, 2022
The seismic aftershock left by Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP Plus

The seismic aftershock left by Suzuki's decision to leave MotoGP

Suzuki's sudden decision to leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of the season has acted as a stirring element in a market that had already erupted. Autosport analyses what this means for the grid going into 2023

MotoGP
May 11, 2022
How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP’s Spanish GP Plus

How the real Ducati began to emerge in MotoGP’s Spanish GP

Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP bike has had a tough start to life and the expected early-season title charge from Francesco Bagnaia did not materialise. But the Spanish Grand Prix signalled a turning point for both the GP22 and Bagnaia, as the 2021 runner-up belatedly got his season underway after a straight fight with Fabio Quartararo

MotoGP
May 2, 2022
How Honda's praise for its 2022 MotoGP bike has turned into doubt Plus

How Honda's praise for its 2022 MotoGP bike has turned into doubt

In a little over two months, Honda has gone from setting the pace in MotoGP testing with its new RC213V prototype to being at a crossroads - caused by the discrepancy in its riders' feedback. After a Portuguese GP that underwhelmed, serious questions are now being asked of Honda in 2022

MotoGP
Apr 26, 2022