MotoGP

Pol Espargaro on Honda rumours – “It’s gossip but bike could suit me…”

Pol Espargaro remains committed to making a success of the KTM project but he doesn't entirely rule out the idea of a move to Honda...

Pol Espargaro believes Honda’s famously ‘aggressive’ RC213V MotoGP bike could be one to suit his riding style as he tentatively dismissed rumours linking him with a potential move to the title-winning team.

The Spaniard’s stock on the rider market has risen recently on the back of his performances with KTM, which have seen the team incrementally improve year-on-year since its debut in his hands.

Having now notched up the milestone of a podium and a front row start, as well as multiple top ten results, Espargaro is being viewed as a potential target for one of the top factory teams among the Spanish motorsport press.

It has given rise to rumours he could be a target for a team like Honda, not least because the riding style needed to get the most from the KTM bike is considered not dissimilar to what is required on the notoriously tricky Honda RC213V.

Indeed, while Espargaro says any link to Honda is simply ‘gossip’ for now he believes he could perform well on the RC213V if given the chance,

“Ultimately it’s all gossip right now,” he told DAZN. “Maybe I’ll get on the KTM now and the results will be incredible, and I wouldn’t leave for all the gold in the world.

“The Honda is quite an aggressive bike, that I could be adapted quite well to my riding style. I think that Marc and I ride in a similar way, with the weight really off the bike. That helps the bike, even if the steering moves or closes, you can save those falls. We have pretty similar riding styles.”

Could Pol Espargaro defect to Honda?

For now, Honda appears most likely to retain Alex Marquez for the 2021 season despite him having not started a race with the championship-winning team. 

The Moto2 champion was drafted in late on a one-year deal after Jorge Lorenzo announced his shock retirement at the conclusion of the 2019 season, but he will face some pressure to hit the ground running when the season does eventually get underway. However with this in mind, Honda may also feel compelled to give him more time to get up to speed 

KTM, meanwhile, will be keen to cling onto Espargaro having worked with him since making its MotoGP debut in 2017.

Indeed, with Johann Zarco defecting after just a few months in 2019, Espargaro is now the only experienced rider on KTM’s books having put faith in young talent with rookie racers Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona, plus second-year rider Miguel Oliveira, filling its other seats.

Even so, it’s true what Espargaro says about the Honda potentially suiting him. With the RC213V honed around the specific riding traits of Marquez, others have struggled to get a feel for the machine as a result.

In comparison, KTM’s RC16 is known to need a firm hand too as demonstrated by Zarco’s struggle to get his smoother style to work on the bike when he rode it in 2019. As such, of all the riders on the grid, many feel Espargaro has the best chance of adapting quickly to the RC213V.
 

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