Pol Espargarò’s first day on his Honda was archived with a 17th final time, just over 9 tenths from Bradl, the fastest on the RC213V. All in all, it didn’t go that badly for his debut on what is described by everyone as a critical bike, an opinion that, however, the Spanish rider doesn’t feel he can fully agree with.
“The Honda is a complicated bike, no doubt, but all MotoGP bikes are,” he pointed out. “It also depends a lot on your riding style. I’d find a bike that requires a high cornering speed more difficult than the Honda.”
So how did your first day go?
“I’d say it went well. I worked on basic things, like my position on the bike. My goal was to learn as much as possible. In fact, I was the first to enter the track, and I ran out of the tires I had available for today. Now I have data to study. Tonight my head will work a lot, and I’m sure tomorrow will be better.”
What are the differences with the KTM?
“They’re two very different bikes, but you have to fight to be fast with both. I got along well with the Honda. The most important thing is to understand the front. To do that, I’ll just have to push harder. I’m not saying it’s particularly complicated but, when you change bikes, that’s the hardest part. With the rear, it’s easier. It just takes more time. I have to force braking, push until I fall, and then I’ll have found my limit.”
Have you looked at Marquez’s data?
“I looked at Bradl’s, who was the fastest today. In some places, we’re similar but, in others, he’s faster. He has more confidence with the front. He knows the limit of the bike better than me. I just need time. I didn’t reach my limit today.”
Did it go better or worse than you expected?
“I had no expectations. I arrived with a neutral attitude, and I think it was a good day for being the first on the Honda. I still have to learn many things. In fact, I had the same times with a new tire than I did with a used one after eighteen laps.”
Have you already started getting used to the bike?
“It’s not good to change the bike every five laps, especially when everything is new. You have to get used to its character first. When I get to the level of the other riders, then I’ll adapt the bike to me. For now, I have to adapt to it.”
How was the engine?
“It’s very different from the KTM one, because of how it gives power both at high and low revs. It’s difficult to make a comparison.”
How did you like it in the garage?
“I tried to talk to everyone. They gave me a lot of advice. Too much to be able to absorb it all. Takeo pushes me a lot. I’m riding his baby and, in Honda, they’re used to winning.”