Miller: Honda’s Espargaro "standout" of MotoGP testing

Jack Miller believes Honda’s Pol Espargaro has been the “standout” rider of MotoGP pre-season testing in Qatar after an impressive Wednesday on the RC213V.

Miller: Honda’s Espargaro "standout" of MotoGP testing

By the time the Qatar Grand Prix rolls around, Espargaro will have had just five days of riding on the Honda this winter having spent the last four years on the KTM.

After a solid opening test at Losail last weekend, Espargaro was just seven tenths off Miller’s record pace of 1m53.183s on the first day of the second Qatar test and is yet to register a crash.

Ducati’s Miller feels Espargaro’s ability to adapt to the different characteristics of the Honda having ridden the unconventional KTM for so long so quickly makes him a definite Qatar GP victory contender.

“I think so, for me I think Pol has been the real standout of this test because he’s had the biggest job of everybody, swapping manufacturers after being on KTM for quite a few years,” Miller said when asked if Espargaro was a win threat for the first race.

“And I’m sure with the KTM being a steel chassis and everything, the characteristics are completely different on the Honda.

“I think he’s adapted to it very well and I think he’s putting in some fantastic lap times and also pace.

“I’m pleasantly surprised to see that, because as we’ve seen in the past not everybody can manage the Honda and I think we all sort of thought Pol has that aggressive style of riding with elbows out and everything.

“I think if anyone can do it he can and I think it’s showing.

“He’s riding the bike, so it’s all looking pretty good for him.”

 

Espargaro admitted last weekend not knowing the limit of the Honda was “stressful”, but feels he understands the front end of the bike better and is progressing faster on the RC213V than he expected.

When Autosport asked if he felt the Honda was his bike now, he said: “Not yet. It’s true that the progression I feel at the moment is faster than I expected.

“And it’s coming – I would not say easy, because to make these laps you need to put in a lot of effort – but it’s coming I would say more natural than what I expected.

“But even like that, we can show in one lap time still to be this far away means I still have a lot to learn about the limits of the bike, even if the lap time is fast I think in the fastest lap I left a couple of tenths because every time I’m faster I’m not a little bit faster – I’m eight tenths faster than the last time.

“It means that all the references change complete, so every time I go this fast in a lap I go wide somewhere, I don’t open the throttle as I should, I get nervous during the lap, I make mistakes.

“So, it means that a lot needs to be improved, but the most important thing is the consistency is massively better than one lap time.

“This I’m very happy about because it’s something I was really looking for, to feel comfortable in the race pace and this is coming better than one lap time.”

shares
comments
Quartararo “scared” of Yamaha’s overtake potential in Qatar
Previous article

Quartararo “scared” of Yamaha’s overtake potential in Qatar

Next article

Rossi "felt like a real rider" on first day of second Qatar MotoGP test

Rossi "felt like a real rider" on first day of second Qatar MotoGP test
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
Why Quartararo's Portugal win wasn't only vital for his MotoGP title hopes Plus

Why Quartararo's Portugal win wasn't only vital for his MotoGP title hopes

Fabio Quartararo got his MotoGP title defence off the ground in the Portuguese Grand Prix as a dominant first win of 2022 rocketed him to the top of the standings. While a significant result in terms of his title hopes, it has come at an even more important time in terms of his 2023 contract negotiations

MotoGP
Apr 25, 2022
How a MotoGP legend is preparing for an unexpected comeback at Goodwood Plus

How a MotoGP legend is preparing for an unexpected comeback at Goodwood

Wayne Rainey, who’s paralysed from the chest down, will ride his 1992 500cc world championship-winning bike again at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The American motorcycle legend explains how he's preparing to thrill on his first visit to the famed hillclimb

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2022