Cars Honda debut for Pol Espargaro: "Good to be able to compare yourself to Bradl"

11:17  07 march  2021
11:17  07 march  2021 Source:   motorsport-total.com

Marc Marquez ponders whether Pol Espargaro's move from KTM to Honda was clever

 Marc Marquez ponders whether Pol Espargaro's move from KTM to Honda was clever © Motorsport Images Was Pol Espargaro's move to Honda a mistake? Pol Espargaro faces his first season as a Honda works driver in 2021. After a strong season with KTM, Espargaro switched to Honda this winter and became Marc Marquez's team-mate. If you look at the shape of the 2020 season, the question arises as to whether the change was the right decision. KTM won three races in the 2020 MotoGP season, Honda not a single one.

Pol Espargaro drehte am Samstag in Katar die ersten Kilometer als Honda-Pilot © Motorsport Images Pol Espargaro drove the first kilometers as a Honda driver in Qatar on Saturday

Pol Espargaro celebrated on the first official day of MotoGP testing in Qatar made his debut on the Honda RC213V. The Spaniard was one of the first to hit the track during the seven-hour session. He completed a total of 68 laps and ended the day 1.2 seconds behind the fastest time .

"There was a lot to do, as you can imagine. Especially exploring the limits of the motorcycle is quite difficult with this field of young drivers, super strong drivers. You have to push immediately and you have to be fast, otherwise you are very good , very far away ", the former KTM rider sums up.

Brad Binder: "Pol Espargaro was a very good reference for me"

 Brad Binder: © KTM Pol Espargaro (left) and Brad Binder (right) were team mates Brad Binder not only had the first MotoGP victory for one year KTM conquered, but was also named the best rookie of the year in his first season in the top class. The South African shared the pits with Pol Espargaro for 14 races. Next year, Binder will be reunited with Miguel Oliveira. The two were already teammates in Moto3 (2015) and Moto2 (2017 and 2018). With Espargaro someone is leaving KTM who was there from the start.

"The first day it was okay. We just checked the bike, things like the brakes, the rear brake, the position on the bike, very basic things, not the electronics or big things like the chassis or the like. I was just trying to learn as much as possible. "

Espargaro: Bradl knows the limit better than I do

Because he started so early, he ran out of tires in the end, so that he couldn't start a time attack with fresh rubber. "But overall I'm very satisfied and I'm looking forward to Saturday. Then it will be a better day."

The most important reference point for one's own performance is Stefan Bradl, who drove Marc Marquez's Honda at the Qatar test. He is still curing his serious injury on his right upper arm, but hopes to be fit for the season opener. Substitute driver Bradl finished second fastest on Saturday.

Pol Espargaro has to wait for the first Honda test: "It will be a long winter"

 Pol Espargaro has to wait for the first Honda test: © Motorsport Images Pol Espargaro thinks about his decision to move to in winter. In a normal MotoGP year there are usually test drives in November . Drivers who change teams or manufacturers usually have the opportunity to get to know their new motorcycles. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the November tests were completely canceled this time. The next official test drives are currently planned for February 19th to 21st in Sepang.

"His confidence in the front wheel is certainly much greater than mine," explains Espargaro. "There are areas where we do more or less the same thing, and in others, even if I try to brake hard, I still have leeway. Even when letting go of the brakes in the middle of the corner, he's faster."

"But these are normal things where he simply knows the limits better than I do and doesn't need two or three laps on fresh tires to set a fast lap time," the Spaniard continues. He set his best time on a seven lap old tire. "That shows the backlog that I have."

"I'll keep improving on Saturday," he looks ahead optimistically. "I'll keep pushing and when the first fall comes, that tells me where the limit is."

Honda RC213V and KTM RC16 "very different"

When Espargaro compares the Honda RC213V with the KTM RC16, which he has ridden for the past four years, he states: "They are too different to compare. Especially since I have three months I haven't ridden those motorcycles anymore. "

Pol Espargaro "mentally drained" after Corona season with triple headers

 Pol Espargaro © Motorsport Images For Pol Espargaro the 2020 season felt longer than normal Due to the corona pandemic, the MotoGP calendar 2020 was completely focused on the second Half of the year and contained four triple headers. It goes without saying that this gets to the core over time - and not necessarily physically, but above all mentally, as KTM driver Pol Espargaro reveals in retrospect. "Yes, definitely," replied the Spaniard when asked whether he was more tired than usual in the 2020 season.

Besides, it doesn't really help him to remember what it was like with the KTM. Because: "They are very, very different. I mean, it is certainly motorcycles that you have to fight a little with to get the result. But apart from that, everything else is very, very different."

Still it feels good with the Honda, emphasizes the Spaniard. "The most important thing is to get a feeling for the front, there you gain the time when braking and generate cornering speed. I have the rear more or less under control when accelerating and in the middle of the corner."

"I have to adapt even more to the motorcycle"

Now it's a matter of "pushing a little more and pushing the limits and recognizing where I'm losing," says Espargaro. He doesn't want to change too much on the motorcycle for it. He therefore prefers to leave the testing of new parts to Bradl for now, who even had a third bike in the pits on Saturday.

"He works hard and was very quick. It's good to be able to compare and double-check with him," says the new Honda member. "I have everything I want to try and test. In the end, I don't think it's good for me right now to change the bike every five laps."

"I still have to get used to the basics, to the character of the bike. If I drive faster times and find myself more at the same level as the others, then we can start to adapt the bike more to me. At the moment I have to adapt adapt even more to the motorcycle. "

"A big progress": Stefan Bradl is looking forward to 10 on Friday .
© Motorsport Images Stefan Bradl is expected directly for Q2 for the second MotoGP -Race on the Losail Circuit in Qatar was Stefan Bradl a better qualifying made. On Friday, the Honda driver could put that into action. In the second free workout he finished with 1: 53.914 minutes the tenth place. He was the best Honda representative.

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