It’s Marc Marquez’s day, but it’s also Pol Espargarò’s. Honda unveiled the new bikes and presented the new team. Then there’s Marc’s confirmation – but he’s still struggling with recovering from his injury – and the new entry, or former KTM standard bearer.
For Espargarò, February 22nd was like the classic first day of school and, consequently, there are lots of expectations and goals for the World Championship to come.
“There’s certainly a lot of excitement for this new adventure,” Pol began. “On the one hand, I really want to start this project with Honda, since my style can adapt to the bike. At the same time, I’m worried about having only five days to spare before the start in Qatar. In fact, it’ll be hard to understand the limit of the RC213V right away and, consequently, I’ll have to fall to learn. As we all know, we’ve seen many riders compete in various races with Honda in the past, but they failed to reach the desired goal.”
So Pol is aware that a complicated test awaits him.
“The goal is undoubtedly to fight it out with the best and be in the upper echelons, but we know that it won’t be easy. We'll have to work hard with the team and try to be united at all times. It’ll probably be complicated at the beginning, because I’ll have many aspects to work on, but we must try to be optimistic and proactive.”
A new adventure begins today for the Spanish rider, where there is no shortage of familiar faces.
“It would've been nice to have some guys I worked with at KTM by my side, since there was a great relationship between us. It wasn’t possible, but I’m happy to find people in Honda I’ve known well for some time. I have an acquaintance with many that has lasted for years and, consequently, this will help me get immediately in tune.”
Besides the team, Honda has great expectations for the new entry.
“Honda called me to win, and I have to do it as soon as possible. I have no more time to lose. In the beginning, I’ll have to grit my teeth, but as soon as I get on the track, I’ll give it my all. I’ll apply all the lessons learned over the years with Yamaha and KTM to this bike. We know that the Honda is a bike that prefers strong braking, like Marc did, and, consequently, I’ll also have to adapt as soon as possible.”
The fact is, besides Marquez and Pedrosa, Honda has put its standard bearers to the test in recent years. This holds true for Lorenzo, who even went so far as to leave the racing world.
“I hope to be the one to break the curse,” he smiled. “Unfortunately, these numbers confirm that the Honda is complex and not an easy bike. Many have tried to do well, but haven’t succeeded. I’ll have to try to copy Marc and what his style is, since he’s the one who interprets the RC213V best of all.”
So the watchword is "adapting".
“Like I said, I’ll have to take a risk and be willing to fall to be fast right away. The key is undoubtedly to try to be strong in braking, and that’s an aspect that I’ve preferred several times in the past with KTM. In fact, I like to enter corners with aggressively.”
He also talks about #93.
“I got the chance to speak with Marc. Our relationship is good but, at the same time, we’re rivals. So, he’ll be my first rival, and it’ll certainly be difficult to compare myself with him, since he’s won a lot in recent years and proved to be number one in the world. But I’ll try, because I was aware of the value of this challenge immediately. With Honda, it’ll be all or nothing for me. But I want to be confident, because we have all the means we need to fight, grow, and be competitive.”
So Pol will be starting over from a 5th place in the 2020 season.
“The last season was positive for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but I was the best at the end of the Championship with KTM. Now, a new adventure awaits me, and I don’t want to look for any excuses. I’ll have to be competitive as soon as possible, aware of what the pressure on me will be.”
Lastly, he talked about a possible participation in the Suzuka 8 Hours.
“Suzuka is a special race. I have great memories but, at the moment, we haven’t talked about it. We’ll see what the team’s intentions will be.”