As the start of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship draws closer, Pol Espargaro sat down ahead of his official debut with the Repsol Honda Team to share his thoughts on joining the most iconic team in Grand Prix racing. A dream fulfilled, Espargaro has made his intentions for 2021 clear.
What does it mean to you to wear the Repsol Honda colours for the first time?
“Wearing these colours is something amazing. I have been seeing the best riders in the world winning titles and races for many years with these colours. These colours mean glory to me. It means you have everything in your hands. They mean being where every rider wants to succeed and where all riders want to end up. When I was racing in 125cc, Moto2 and even MotoGP, this team were on the podium practically at every race. Seeing these colours alongside your number is amazing. It’s something super special.
“From the beginning I was very clear about where I wanted to go, where I should be and where I wanted to see myself in order to test myself and see what I was capable of. The best way to do that is to be on the best team in the world, with the best bike in the world and next to the best rider in the world. I think I am coming to the Repsol Honda Team at the best time of my career. Being where you want to be, at the right time, means fulfilling a dream, and therefore without a doubt I am fulfilling my dream right now.”
What do you think of the RC213V from what you’ve seen?
“I have seen this bike many times in photos and videos and I see it’s a pretty physically small bike. These shorter bikes where you can manage the bike like you want, tend to move a little bit more but it’s the kind of bike I like to ride. You have a big input on the bike, you’re the one telling the bike what to do. Sometimes for sure you need to force the bike to do one or two things the bike doesn’t want to do, but it’s my way of riding. I like to brake late, and I have seen that every rider who has got on the Repsol Honda manages to brake very late and very aggressively; that favours me a lot because of my riding style.”
What goals have you set yourself for the 2021 season?
“The main goal for the season can’t go another way than being on the podium or trying to win races, or even the world title. We need to improve our results from last year, I had a good year, but it can be better, and I will try my hardest to. The first year isn’t going to be easy but I did not come to the Repsol Honda Team to fight for the top six in the championship, I came here to achieve the highest goal in my career which is to be MotoGP World Champion one day. For sure winning races and this goal can be achieved here at Repsol Honda.”
What do you think you can contribute to the Repsol Honda Team?
“I’m going to try to give with my proactive attitude; huge work, huge effort, passion, love for this sport and for sure results. Saying that we are happy to finish in the Top 10 is not what the team expect, and it is not what I expect. I will give my utmost effort to achieve what this team have been doing in recent years.”
What do you think the first test will be like?
“I can already tell I am going to be nervous, super nervous, shaking and I don’t think I will sleep the day before! This is a chapter in my life that I have always been trying to imagine. I am really looking forward to the moment I get on the bike for the first time, I think it’s a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life and I really want to enjoy it.”
What’s it like to be sharing a box with Marc Marquez?
“To share the team with Marc, I think it was another reason I wanted to come into the Repsol Honda Team. I have been fighting with Marc in the smaller categories for many years and I had so much fun, I’ve grown with him by fighting race-by-race and this makes me the rider I am today. When you fight against one of the greatest riders in the world you tend to improve much faster. The best way to improve yourself is to be beside the guy who is the same, or even better, than you. So that’s why I moved, I want to see my level compared to Marc who is for sure one of the best on the grid.”
Is this a dream come true?
“When you imagine wearing these colours or riding a bike like this one a lot and then you finally do it, it’s incredible. You’re achieving your dreams; I am living my dream. Yes, 100 per cent.”