Exasperated Espargaro ‘just going to copy Marquez setting, I want his Honda’

Pol Espargaro can't hide his frustration as he labours to a mid-pack result on a crash-strewn German MotoGP weekend, while Marc Marquez soars to victory

Pol Espargaro - Repsol Honda

Pol Espargaro couldn’t hide his evident frustration watching Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez celebrate his and the team’s first MotoGP win since 2019 during the German MotoGP as he suffered another incident-packed weekend.

The Spaniard is in the midst of his first season with the multiple title-winning squad following a switch from KTM over the winter, but like others before him, has found the Honda RC213V a difficult animal to tame, as demonstrated by a series of accidents over the course of the year.

The Sachsenring weekend was no exception, Espargaro finding the gravel trap on more than one occasion, but while his run to tenth represented one of his better results of the year, it was overshadowed by Marquez - whom he has largely matched for pace in 2021 - and his stroll to victory.

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The disparity in results is evidently playing on Espargaro’s mind, telling the media that if he cannot produce the same results as Marquez then he is ‘too slow for the bike’ before saying it is his plan to dive into the Spaniard’s data to copy his setting. 

"From now on I think I’m going to just try to copy Marc’s setting, Marc’s chassis, because he’s using different than us," Espargaro was quoted as saying by Crash.net. "I’m going to copy his line [direction]. Until that moment, we were not very far away from rhythm, from lap times, but this race, it’s a step.

"For sure, I’m very happy for the team and for all the guys that have been working so much, even for Marc. But the point is that for sure Marc shows the performance today of the bike, and I need to be on the level.

"So the only way I see, is to copy his setting, his bike, his chassis as soon as possible, and then go in his line [direction[ and from that moment on, there is no excuses. I need to do what he does, otherwise I’m too slow for the bike. That’s it."

Is Honda treating its MotoGP riders differently?

Significantly, Espargaro confirmed he still isn’t riding the same RC213V chassis as Marquez, leading him to actively petition the manufacturer to follow through on levelling the specs up from the next event in Assen.

While Espargaro stops short of suggesting he is receiving different treatment to Honda’s talisman and #1 rider, he believes the team would stand a greater chance of speeding up development if it had both riders pulling in the same direction. 

"Honestly, I was following my line [bike direction] because I felt it was good until the race. On the time attack it was not too bad. I was fast, even on race pace, but after this result…

"It’s not that Marc is winning because of the bike, but I'm saying that to understand I need to do what he is doing, I need to use exactly the same bike," Espargaro said.

"So, like that, I’m going to understand exactly what he’s doing and how I need to ride this bike on the 100% level as he does.

"This was the first time I lost so much time to my team-mate. I think never in my life have I lost 14 seconds to my team-mate. It’s opened my eyes. I need to work harder.”