The dart from Puig to Pol

The Repsol Honda Team rider worsens Álex Márquez's numbers in his debut with the brand. In his first year in MotoGP, the one from Cervera achieved two podiums.


Many trusted him after his work taking the KTM to the top, but his adaptation to the Honda is being much more complicated than expected. Either because the HRC is not the winning bike that it used to be or because his style is not really compatible with it, but Pol Espargaró is not capable. He is one of the most experienced riders in the paddock, one of those who has worked the most this summer break, but even his physique seems not to be enough to tame a beast that only Marc Márquez can carry.

It sounds cliché, but Cervera's is the only one capable of winning with the Honda. He disappeared from the circuits for a whole season and with a physique still far from his maximum level, he has been the only one capable of returning the brand of the Golden Wing to the path of victory. He did it 581 days after the last one and breaking the worst streak of the Japanese manufacturer without victories in MotoGP (a total of 21 races, since Valencia 2019 which, in addition, Marc himself won). And, thanks to that, the team will not enjoy concessions next 2022. Something that would be catastrophic for the most successful brand in the championship.

It is anecdotal what is happening with Pol Espargaró at Honda and, even, it seems a déjà vu of what happened with Jorge Lorenzo in his passage through the orange box in 2019. The five-time world champion was not able to tame it, in fact , led him to retire and, before a new signing that was excited, history repeats itself. They trusted a rider who took KTM to the top in just a few years (a project that started from scratch) and they opted for a riding style that seemed to be perfectly suited to what the Honda asked for. But, once again, it is not enough. In eleven races contested to date, the Granollers driver already admits that his frustration is increasing due to the lack of results. And, the worst thing is that he does not understand why.

The situation is clear: he works constantly, but there is no progress. The lack of grip (especially in the rear axle) continues to be the brand's biggest headache, which continues to work to find solutions. But, as much as they try things, nothing helps them improve. And it has become very clear at the Red Bull Ring, a track where Pol Espargaró has gone, in just one year, from taking pole position and fighting for victory to not being able to score points in the two races that have been contested. "It's painful," admits the Spaniard, who cannot drive as he really would like. “I have no idea how to solve our problems. Since the Qatar Grand Prix, we have tried everything and I don't even know what to do, ”he added this past Sunday after the Austrian Grand Prix.

Álex Márquez had a better Honda debut

The situation could not be more extreme. Pol Espargaró is urged (and very much) good results. It is fifteenth in the MotoGP World Championship (with an eighth as its best result) and, worst of all, it turns out to be the worst of the four Honda that are on the track every week. Even Álex Márquez has had, so far, a better season than him. Not by much, in fact, they are tied at 41 points, but the one from Cervera has reaped better numbers than the official team driver (sixth is his best result) and, therefore, is one place above # 44. Or Marc Márquez who, despite starting his season two races later and with three zeros for falls, is eleventh in the general classification with 59 points (and one victory, the Sachsenring) .

But the statistics could still go more against that of Granollers: Álex Márquez had a better debut than Pol with the Repsol Honda Team and, furthermore, it was his first season in MotoGP. In eleven races (the same ones Espargaró has carried to date), the double world champion achieved a whopping 67 points, accumulating three zeros and with two great feats. Two podiums (in France and Aragon) that relieved the pressure and frustration of the 'Golden Wing' brand in the absence of Marc, when they saw that the concessions were getting closer.

Y, despite his great performance with the team, the signing of Pol Espargaró made him move at the end of the year to the brand's satellite team, LCR Honda, where he now plays. But what would have happened to keep him on the officer? Many are already those who think that the little one of the Márquez dynasty could perhaps return to the orange box after a year of learning. And it is that, just the same, the adaptation of a rookie can be even easier than for a rider who has already gone through three different brands in his journey through MotoGP. What is clear is that Honda needs solutions (yes, Pol has a contract until the end of 2022).Puig's dart to Pol

As after each grand prix, Alberto Puig, Repsol Honda team manager, gave an assessment of the weekend. He melted in praise for Marc Márquez after his struggle to be on the podium again, but Pol Espargaró did not suffer the same fate. In fact, he highlights how hard it is for him to adapt to the Honda: “The understanding between Pol and his bike is a negative aspect. He is far from his ability and is not reaching the full potential of the bike. He is suffering and we need to work with him to overcome this situation. ”

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