Pol Espargaro will be joining Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda for 2021 after four successful years with KTM.
Pol has proven over at KTM that he has the skills to develop a motorbike and bring it to the front. When he first rode the KTM he said it was incredibly hard to ride and felt like it was going to ‘fall apart’ down the straights.
Over the four years that Pol rode for KTM, his knowledge and data proved to be invaluable, giving KTM their first podium at Valencia 2018 in the soaking wet rain, even after crashing.
The issue at Honda is that they have put all their eggs into one basket, building a motorbike around Marc Marquez, this is great in the view of winning titles, but not great when no one else can ride the bike, not even MotoGP Legend Jorge Lorenzo.
Honda’s main problem is the front end with Cal Crutchlow moving back to the 2019 chassis, something which Pol helped to fix at KTM. Most of the development falls at the feet of Marc Marquez and Stefan Bradl with Marquez getting the final say on a lot of things. Given the riding style of Marquez which is very loose and violent on the bike, it has been made to suit him, with riders like Crutchlow saying that if you tried to ride the bike like Marquez every corner, you’d crash.
With Marquez currently injured, Honda are in a tight spot as they have no riders capable of truly riding the Honda to race wins and his absence will be echoed loud and clear at Honda.
This is where Pol comes in, he will be able to develop the Honda into a more user-friendly motorbike with the goal of Honda getting a 1-2 in the standings, something which hasn’t been done since 2003 with Rossi and Gibernau.
If the bike is easier to ride, it may give Marquez an easier time as he will not have to make crazy saves everywhere he can to keep the motorbike upright. Espargaro has been signed to win races and to develop the Honda into a true title contender. Not to mention that Dani Pedrosa helped to develop the Honda and KTM, working with both Marquez and Espargaro, both riders will be able to use the advice given by Pedrosa to really turn the Honda into something special.
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