A proud and emotional Pol Espargaro thoroughly enjoyed his Silverstone weekend with Repsol Honda after securing pole position then leading the opening laps of the BritishGP.
It was more of a family affair than his recent outings as the Spaniard battled with elder brother, Aleix, on multiple occasions throughout the 20-lap race, with the pair even sitting one and two in the opening stages but the 30-year-old admited he was definitely left wanting more.
“First of all, to fight against my brother in MotoGP,” Espargaro said of Sunday’s race, “not many brothers or I think nobody were fighting till now, were fighting for the podium or for a victory of the race. That was quite emotional and I feel actually super proud of it.
“Definitely you always feel to deserve a little more. That's natural from the human being but at the end, we knew our possibilities with the soft rear tyre - which was, enjoy the more or less middle race and then kind of see what happens and survive after it. Our right hand side of the tyre was completely dead after a little bit more than half of the race distance, like two more laps after the middle race, and it was impossible to, especially make the fast corners, entry the fast corners with high speed, the rear was locking quite a lot, moving.
“For sure I wanted more because I think I had the speed of the top guys, maybe not Quartararo, but for sure to be in the podium. I was comfortable that in one stage I was even catching my brother and Alex [Rins] when they were going. But the tyre give up and at the end, the situation is what it is.
“We, the four Hondas, were using the soft tyre on the rear, we were the only ones, it shows you the situation we are, which is typical [for us], and it's not same than the others.
“It's not that I'm saying that we did the wrong choice, but, even knowing that it was a correct choice, it should not be the correct choice. I mean when everyone is doing what he's doing, everyone, all the manufacturers, the winning guys, were using the medium rear. Also through all the weekend they were going fast with the medium and we couldn’t. It was dangerous for us, and we were missing a lot of grip that we needed to use a soft. It put us in a critical situation that means that we are missing grip, and it's something that we know but here it was quite obvious. To see the Hondas, that normally works with harder compounds, using the softer ones, because with a medium tyre, it was not possible to go. We are working on it and I think we will solve the problem soon, hopefully as soon as possible, if not, next year but surely it's our weak point at the moment.
“After we finish the race for sure I was talking with all the crew, all the crew were happy because we've been crossing tough times and it’s not just the rider, when everything is not going good. I'm sad, but also the team, the manufacturer, everyone is not having a good time. So finally we could have our race which I would love to be in the podium - I think we had the potential today to be in the podium but you know the situation we have now it's what it is and we couldn't fight more than what I did, in my opinion."
In Saturday’s post-qualifying press conference Espargaro touched on his apprehension about fighting with the front group after such a long time in the mid-pack, but it seems old habits die hard when you’re racing.
“I really enjoyed the laps in first. In the race I was remembering what the feelings were, and it was quite emotional and nice,” he admitted.
“Fighting with these guys, I tell you it's much more smooth and nicer than to be fighting for the top-10! The guys on the back they are wide, they do strange lines, they attack you as soon they can, even if they are not faster, they try. It makes you tired when you fight in that position because you are always defending, you are always protective, you are not trying to be better, you are just trying to keep what you have and not improving, I don't know how to explain, it's very difficult. But it's not something that makes you grow, it’s just surviving mode.
“At the end we need to be happy, we need to see the overall of the weekend, and if before coming here someone tell me that I'm going to do the pole and finish in fifth position, and just three-seconds off the podium or something like that, I would sign it so we must be happy.”
Buoyed by his positive weekend in the UK, Espargaro remains confident yet realistic as he approaches his third race of the season on Spanish soil, at Motorland Aragon.
“Now, next step is Aragon which we come with much more positive vibes. Looking at the situation, it should be okay but talking before to go there, is critical because we are having quite a tough moment.
“I like Aragon, I'm fast there, the same or even more than in Silverstone. The bike should work at least same than last year and last year Taka [Nakagami] was just better than everyone else. He was super fast. Also the conditions were different, it was super cold. This year we are gonna face a different temperature, close to 30 degrees or even 30 degrees while last year, we had around 20 degrees, which is going to make a big difference.
“It's a place where I'm normally being fast - I win in Moto2, I win in 125 - I've been training there during the summer. I like the place, it's a kind of a home GP, a lot of Spanish supporters there. Why not we can do a good job there but I just don't want to make predictions before I arrive there because you know how it's going, it's up and downs, quite badly. Hopefully we can keep this pace and enjoy a little bit more this year because it was not enough enjoyable for me.”