Espargaro: Honda MotoGP bike now 'safer' to ride

Pol Espargaro says Honda has made an "amazing" step between MotoGP's last visit to Portugal in April and this weekend's Algarve Grand Prix, noting how the bike is safer.

Espargaro: Honda MotoGP bike now 'safer' to ride

Honda has endured a tough 2021 campaign despite the fact it has won three races courtesy of Marc Marquez – who is absent from this weekend's Algarve GP due to a concussion – and scored its first 1-2 since 2017 last time out at Misano.

In general, the 2021 Honda has suffered with a lack of rear grip, which has caused problems on acceleration, braking and turning.

Having qualified 14th and crashing out of the Portuguese GP in April, Espargaro was much stronger on Friday at the Algarve GP, ending the day fifth overall and 0.402 seconds off the pace.

He noted that despite the Algarve track's grip levels not being great on Friday, the bike had improved a lot since April, most notably in terms of "safety".

"Well, actually the conditions on the track were not amazingly good," Espargaro explained.

"The grip is not super nice and I am struggling quite a lot with it, and we are just trying to set up the bike in a good way to try to be more competitive.

"But we have made an amazing step from the first time we have been here, especially about safety because I crashed here quite badly [in April], also Alex [Marquez] crashed here.

"We were not performing very good and looks like at the moment, even if I'm not super happy with the feelings, because I feel like we are not taking 100% the performance of the tyres, some guys are using the hard rear and for us I think it's something very tricky, close to impossible, we are not generating enough heat.

"That's why we struggle with the medium and the hard, even the soft. Even like that, the lap time was decent, the position was not too bad.

"But thinking about tomorrow, we need to improve and we have to qualify directly [into Q2], it's not going to be easy."

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Espargaro notes Honda's 1-2 at Misano has given the team "an incredible boost" heading into this weekend, while noting that the rear floating issue which plagued the start of his year was "minimal" on Friday.

"We are a little bit faster, that's for sure," he added. "The confidence is better after the result we did in Misano, that also gave us an incredible boost and a lot of trust that we can do it as well.

"Mainly [before] we were struggling with the rear grip, I crashed super-badly, I remember also Alex crashed super-badly.

"We were struggling a lot with the rear floating especially on the entry to the corners at the beginning of the year, and also we were having a lot of problems generating grip on the rear tyre.

"Today, we have this problem but it's minimal, and this helps us on traction area, on turning and corner speed."

Read Also:

 

shares
comments

Related video

Mir was ”mentally collapsed” after recent MotoGP races
Previous article

Mir was ”mentally collapsed” after recent MotoGP races

Next article

Algarve MotoGP: Bagnaia pips Quartararo in third practice

Algarve MotoGP: Bagnaia pips Quartararo in third practice
Load comments
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Prime

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Prime

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Motorsport.com's pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Prime

What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021