MADRID, March 6. (Royals Blue) –
The Spanish rider Pol Espargaró (Repsol Honda) does not hide that last year he felt “a little” the pressure to ride in the Japanese team, but that it is “oneself and not the brand” that must put it, while now he faces more optimistic their second season where, in addition to a positive preseason, they believe that the presence of a Marc Márquez will “help” them in the evolution of the bike and in their own quality on the track.
“I noticed it a bit (the pressure), but I think that the pressure has to be put on oneself, not because of the brand for which you race. A pilot must demand himself to the maximum, that is to win and if you do not do it, it is not you’re doing things right,” said Pol Espargaró in an interview with Europa Press.
The Catalan, however, does not hide that he is in a ‘top’ team like Honda and Repsol Honda and with a teammate like Marc Márquez who makes it “even more difficult” to meet the objectives. “He’s the rider you have to beat and comparisons are always tough, but this bike has to win and we can’t afford anything more than that,” he added.
The one from Granollers finished its first year in the golden wing brand with a “bittersweet” taste. “I had very good moments, but also very bad ones and these were the ones that mattered the most, what everyone saw and what we went through at Honda. But having bad days and years also works to value the good years and the results that they will come, sometimes it is important to take a step back to take two forwards”, he remarked.
In this sense, although he preferred to take it “calmly”, he did expect that “the evolution would have been faster” in 2022. “It cost me a lot, there were weekends when we thought we could be faster like in Austria where with KTM it was had been and instead I wasn’t able to solve the problems. There were times when we got very frustrated, but we finished the season with a very good pace and fighting for the top positions and we also value that very much. It wasn’t all bad, but the general computation was not the desired one,” he stressed.
“I am one of those who thinks that when you have to make two decisions, you choose the one that suits you best. There is no going back to the past and there is no regret because it was the best for you. We fought with what we had, we just have to look forward and not waste time in the past”, Espargaró stressed about his decision not to continue at KTM where he was offering a good level to sign for Repsol Honda, where he signed a second place in the Emilia-Romagna GP as the best result.
In addition, the fact that Marc Márquez was not at his best level or was absent in some races, did not generate extra pressure but “the other way around”. “The spotlights have dimmed a bit and that is missing, not having that pressure of having to get results can make you relax a bit. Having Marc makes this team a winner and it will help us all, in the evolution of the bike and mine as a rider and to achieve the results we want”, he warned.
“THE PRE-SEASON WAS BETTER THAN I EXPECTED”
Now, the Spanish rider has “good feelings” for the World Cup that starts this Sunday in Qatar after having experienced “a very good preseason”. “It was better than I expected to have a completely new bike. We expected to struggle a bit at the beginning, but things went smoother for everyone than we thought. That’s good, but the question remains that it will happen during the season. and where are the rivals from and if they were showing all their cards”, he pointed out.
For the Catalan, in the tests “you can see a little” where the other teams are and their “difficulties and if they are fast in one lap or not”. “You can foresee it a bit, but it’s difficult because in a test you have many hours and many laps, while in a Grand Prix there are nerves, crashes, tire management and everything that happens. It’s not just speed but a lot of other things,” he explained.
“We started in Qatar with a different schedule, at night, with high humidity and cold at night and it is quite rare because we normally have high humidity with high temperatures and the engines do not work at their full potential. It is a very rare Grand Prix, with many nerves to be the first and with many mistakes, you have to have the best time possible and from there connect good races”, Espargaró sentenced about the first race of the season in which he will start from sixth place.