until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Why Espargaro won’t celebrate an apparent MotoGP breakthrough

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Struggling Honda MotoGP rider Pol Espargaro insists there’s nothing to celebrate despite finishing the first day of action at the British Grand Prix in a strong fourth place.

While Espargaro admitted that on paper it looked good for him, he and his Repsol Honda team need to first see the level of his MotoGP competitors when action starts to heat up tomorrow.

The Spaniard had arguably his best day of the European season so far at Silverstone, ending up as top Honda in fourth place – but with a gap of three quarters of a second to fastest man Fabio Quartararo and with many of his rivals still to truly show their hands, he says it’s too early to get excited.


“At the end, nothing has been done yet,” an honest Espargaro replied when asked about his upturn by The Race.

“What we did today confirmed nothing. Tomorrow morning everyone will improve their lap times, and if we do not improve then what we have done, even the good feelings with the bike, will be gone.

“It’s definitely not anything done yet, so we need to work more, we need to be faster tomorrow.

“Even if the feelings are good, we need to understand where we are weak and where we can improve.

“That’s it, and Sunday will be the main day. Today was just a chance to show off.”

Despite all of that, Espargaro – who has yet to finish a race higher than eighth since joining Honda – was also upbeat after the session.

While he admitted it might prove to be false hope, he knows where he suddenly found the rear grip that he relies on to help turn the bike and that has always been lacking on a Honda RC213V designed around Marc Marquez’s style.

“In the end, I had a clear idea that I could push with the soft tyres to find the limit, and everything was coming to me quite smoothly,” Espargaro explained.

“At the moment, I have no complaints at all and I feel good. Everything is working pretty well.

“The temperature was pretty low today, and that gives us more grip with the soft tyres.

“You can generally have more grip, and if you remember in Le Mans it was exactly the same.

“The temperature was similar and the asphalt is similar.

“Maybe for other riders or my team-mates that is a big problem, because it’s hard to manage.

“It causes problems with the front pushing, quite low stability – but for me, it was a huge advantage.

“Good grip I can manage, like others can manage low grip, but I am fast when there is high grip.”


With the cool temperatures forecast to remain for the weekend, Silverstone could be one of Espargaro’s best chances to shine this season.

But he also admitted he’s well aware that it’s only masking issues that won’t go away any time soon for the Honda team.

“There are more places with low grip than good grip,” he conceded.

“There are more tracks where the temperature is high than low, there are more places with bad asphalt than there are with good asphalt, and that is why I’m struggling a little more than the others, especially here [at Honda] this year where our main problem is missing grip.

“I have explained many times that I have problems with the rear brake, that I cannot use it, because we have problems with the grip on corner entry.

“But here it seems that everything is a little smoother and nicer, and for me it is better to ride like this.

“But we need to keep working – this is just the beginning and tomorrow more problems can come.”

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