Repsol Honda has released the following interview - watch below - with its new MotoGP signing Pol Espargaro, joining the factory HRC squad in 2021 as team-mate to (currently injured) eight-time world champion Marc Marquez.

Espargaro, who battled Marquez in the smaller classes, enjoyed the best season of his MotoGP career with five podiums and fifth in the world championship for KTM.

But his goals are much bigger at the official HRC team which, although winless following Marquez's fractured arm last season, has claimed no less than 20 500cc/MotoGP titles since 1983.

"I came here to achieve the highest goal in my career which is to be MotoGP World Champion one day," Espargaro says.

The Spaniard, 29, also comments on sharing a garage with Marquez - "' When you fight against one of the greatest riders in the world you tend to improve much faster" – and his expectations of riding the RC213V: "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.”

With the Sepang tests cancelled, Espargaro is now due to make his RCV debut at the Qatar test in early March. However, it is still not clear when Marquez will be fit to return as he continues to undergo treatment for infection in the broken bone, discovered while undergoing a third operation last December...

What does it mean to you to wear the Repsol Honda colours for the first time?

Pol Espargaro: “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?

Pol Espargaro: “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?

Pol Espargaro: “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?


Pol Espargaro: “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?

Pol Espargaro: “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?

Pol Espargaro: “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?

Pol Espargaro: “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%.”

 

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