Espargaro battling lack of Honda MotoGP bike knowledge

Pol Espargaro has attributed his struggles in MotoGP qualifying sessions so far in 2021 to a lack of knowledge of his Honda bike.

Espargaro battling lack of Honda MotoGP bike knowledge
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Espargaro has qualified in the top 10 on just two occasions from the first nine rounds of the season, limiting the Spaniard to a best race result of eighth at Le Mans.

That has left him 12th in the standings at the halfway point of the campaign, two places behind teammate Marc Marquez, who missed the opening two races due to his lingering injuries.

Espargaro has on a number of occasions shown strong pace in practice, but says he still struggles on a single-lap attack because he doesn’t fully understand the limits of the RC213V.

“What happens is that everyone knows how good their bike is and this is what happens,” Espargaro said when asked about his struggles in qualifying.

“When everyone pushes, it’s the moment where you need to get the maximum from your bike, but not making mistakes.

“With no pre-season, just racing on the race weekends, when I need to push to do one fast lap I crash or I go wide. This is a weakness of knowledge.

"It happened in this qualifying [at Assen], when I wanted to attack I did a mistake with the front tyre thinking it would be good, but actually it wasn’t good.

“This is knowledge for the future, when the same situation happens we are gonna put the medium front in [instead of the soft] and everything is going to be ok. But this was the problem. We make mistakes from a weakness of knowledge.”

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Espargaro had just five days of testing on the Honda before the season started – all of them taking place in Qatar, where the first two rounds were also held.

Under normal circumstances, Espargaro would have had two days of running in November at Jerez, three at Sepang in February and another three in Qatar before the first round.

With such a limited pre-season in 2021, Espargaro admits he has missed out on valuable time to make mistakes on the bike.

“I’m missing making mistakes during the tests and not during a race weekend," he said. “It’s obvious I do a lot of mistakes during the weekends, this is due to the weakness of knowledge.

“That’s it, it’s a matter to understand the problems. Once you make the mistake you don’t repeat it, but you need to make the mistake.”

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