The Repsol Honda rider looks back at his career, revealing how he turned down an attractive offer in 2015. A decision that proved to be the wrong one
Current HRC rider Pol Espargaró is essentially a MotoGP veteran, having competed in the category since 2014. He immediately scored strong results in his debut season with Hervé Poncharal’s Team Tech3.
Now a few years down the line, the Spaniard reveals that he turned down an offer from Suzuki for the 2015 season, as he was hoping for a factory Yamaha ride, one that never came.
“I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before. In my first year with Yamaha, I finished sixth in MotoGP, very close to Dovi who was fifth with the Ducati”, recalls Pol in a MotoGP podcast. “That was the year Suzuki was returning to MotoGP and I received an offer from them.”
“But at the time I had promises from Yamaha, I was talking to them, imagining Valentino Rossi’s possible retirement. After my first MotoGP season, which I finished top five, they said, ‘Hang on, because maybe you’ll move to the factory team’”.
Unfortunately for Espargaró, that didn’t happen: "My second year with the Yamaha didn’t go so well, I had compartmental syndrome. I had surgery mid-season, it wasn’t a great year, while Suzuki was scoring incredible results, they were starting to do really well”.
A mistake that Pol avoided in subsequent years, seizing the opportunity to move to KTM in 2017: “They were a brand-new manufacturer in MotoGP but I said to myself, ‘If they start to win and do well in the future, I might kill myself’ (he laughs). In the end we did just that, starting to score podiums and pole positions”.
In 2021, the youngest Espargaró brother took up the Honda challenge: "I have the same points as Nakagami, who’s been riding the same bike for years. I’m ahead of Alex Marquez, I’m the second Honda in the standings. Clearly the results aren’t good, and I’m the first to critique my performance and work even harder. I’m 100% sure that I’ll get there. I have my experience in KTM, and if I was able to score results with a brand-new project, then I’ll be able to do so in Honda too, I have no doubts”, concludes an optimistic #44.
Translated by Heather Watson