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Reports Indicate Pol Espargaro May Move to Repsol Honda Next Year, Displacing Younger Brother of Marc Marquez

Press reports indicate KTM’s Pol Espargaro has an offer to join Repsol Honda as the teammate of Marc Marquez beginning with the 2021 MotoGP championship series. Although the deal does not appear to be final, KTM itself acknowledges Honda has an offer on the table for Espargaro. Espargaro has been quoted as stating that Honda and Ducati offer the “dream bikes” for any rider interested in capturing the MotoGP crown.

Repsol Honda, of course, only recently announced that reigning Moto2 champion Alex Marquez, younger brother of MotoGP champion Marc Marquez was joining the factory squad for 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the inability of the younger Marquez to display his skills for the Honda brass at this point. He will certainly ride the remaining 2020 rounds, however, but it is believed he will be demoted to a Honda satellite team next year to make room for Espargaro.

Not everyone remembers how Pol Espargaro diced with Marc Marquez in the 2012 Moto2 championship, where Espargaro defeated Marquez in five separate races, and followed Marquez across the finish line in close proximity on other occasions. Espargaro, of course, won the Moto2 crown himself the following year after Marquez moved on to the MotoGP class. Espargaro is fast, and talented, and has typically gotten the most out of the developing KTM MotoGP machine in comparison with his teammates.

We will report on further developments, including any official announcement from Honda or KTM.

34 Comments

  1. mickey says:

    Just read Petrucci signed a deal with KTM to take Pol’s place. They picked him over Crutchlow the article said.

  2. bmbktmracer says:

    I enjoy how opinionated everyone is over these matters. Maybe too much time at home and not enough time out strafing apexes.

  3. joe b says:

    It looks to me, Honda is simply looking for the right rider. Every now and then, one turns out to be a champion, who can say, before? The younger Marquez better impress the bosses. Look how Fabio raced last year, very impressive, and it seems he will have swap rides with Rossi. Remember when everyone thought Rossi going to Ducati was the marriage made in heaven? how’d that turn out…

    • mickey says:

      All teams search for the right rider. My goodness look at Ducati.. They’ve hired Bayliss, Capirossi, Melandri, Stoner, Checa, Hayden, Dovisioso, Iannone, Rossi, Lorenzo, Petrucci and this year they shopped Vinales and Quatararo but couldn’t get them before hiring Miller.

      I read they also offered M Marquez half of Italy if he would ride their bike before he signed his 4 year contract with Honda.

  4. Hot Dog says:

    So, one of the Marquez boys gets booted off the top team before he even gets to show his stuff? Big Bro might not say anything but I bet it chaps his arse a bit that Lil’ Bro is the empty beer can getting kicked down the road.

  5. VLJ says:

    I can’t recall Pol ever having his teeth kicked in on a consistent basis by a teammate. Let’s see how he responds to being Marc’s caddie.

    • Motoman says:

      “Marc’s caddie”…. yeouch! I suppose you’re right though.

    • Dave says:

      If Pol comes to terms with he Honda, I don’t think anyone will kick his teeth in. On equal machinery he beat Marquez many times.

      • VLJ says:

        That was then. They were just kids, wet behind the ears, piloting unfamiliar, rider-friendly, Junior Class machines. This is now. By the start of the 2021 season Marc will have had an eight-year headstart on Pol learning the limits of this idiosyncratic, far more difficult-to-ride Moto GP missile.

        By season’s end, Marc will have well and truly kicked Pol’s teeth in, at least doubling Pol’s points total, which is what he did to the third-place finisher, Maverick Vinales, last year.

        Bank on it.

      • mickey says:

        It will take Pol quite a while to “come to terms with the Honda”. Some mighty talented riders have tried and failed. Lorenzo comes to mind. Everyone who has ridden it says it’s a difficult beast to tame.

        Will be interesting to watch for sure.

      • VLJ says:

        Also, by the time the 2021 season rolls around it will have been a full eight years, going back to his Moto 2 days, since Pol last won a race. Not a championship, mind you, but a single race. Pol hasn’t experienced a sniff of front-of-the-pack competitiveness during his entire MotoGP career.

        He has no muscle-memory of winning. Mentally and emotionally, he is a career mid-packer, at best.

        Meanwhile, his teammate is hardwired to do nothing but win. It’s almost literally all Marc knows. In order for Pol to end the season within even 100 points of Marc, Pol will need to finish the year in second place. He’ll have to beat Dovi, Maverick, Quartararo, Rossi, Rins, Miller, etc., on a consistent, season-long basis, on a brand-new-to-him bike…a bike that no one but Marc has been able to tame of late.

        Judging by the results of Marc’s teammates in recent years, as well as those of the other Honda riders (Crutchlow, Nakagami, Bradl, and even Zarco), Pol will do well to avoid ending the year on the injured list, never mind finishing in the top five.

        • Dave says:

          All good points, especially the part about the Honda bing a one-rider bike, currently.

        • fred says:

          Rational points, but predicting the future is a risky business. Pol clearly has talent. If you take Dovi as an example, he was a career mid-pack rider who suddenly started running at the top rung for a couple of years. Fabio hadn’t shown much of anything since he was 16.

          Sometimes, things align, and people show heretofor unseen (by the crowd) abilities.

          • VLJ says:

            Dovi has had many years on the Ducati, so he’s well used to the bike and the team. Pol will be starting out on an all new (to him) bike with an all new (to him) team.

            Also, despite finishing the year in second place, Dovi still trailed Marc by 151 points. That’s a full six races, or a third of the season, of Dovi wins and Marc DNFs, and it still wouldn’t have been enough.

            Dovi had his teeth kicked in.

            Wonderchild Quartararo? The guy who supposedly threatened Marc the most? He finished 228 points adrift of Marc, who more than doubled Fabio’s point total. Marc absolutely kicked his teeth in.

            Good results, even shockingly good results, see you getting curbstomped by Marc. Just take a gander at the other Honda riders. Cal Crutchlow is a very good rider, capable of winning races in MotoGP. Is Pol as good as, or better than Cal, especially when Cal has been riding the Honda for years now?

            Marc nearly tripled Cal’s points total. Cal was the second best Honda rider, and only scored 133 points, to Marc’s 420. It was a brutal beatdown.

            That’s what Pol is facing next season.

          • Mickey says:

            Well, when you put it like that lol

          • Dave says:

            I cannot bend my definition of getting “teeth kicked in” enough to offer Pol, or anybody else a chance at the title.

            VLJ & Cold, hard math, for the win.

          • fred says:

            Marc had a great year in 2019, just like he did in 2014. He is a great rider, one of the best all-time, but he is beatable.

            From what you are saying, it would be logical to just close down MotoGP and give Marc the championship each year until he says “enough”, then start racing again. I don’t think so.

            Let ’em race. Marc remains the favorite, but there is no reason to believe that no one else has a chance.

          • VLJ says:

            It’s not necessarily that no one else has a chance. Like Fabio said in an interview I read today, no one on a Honda is going to beat Marc. It will need to be someone riding a different bike.

            Pol will be on a Honda. Pol has no experience on that Honda. He will not be the guy to challenge Marc.

  6. Todd says:

    Ducati misses out again and will piss off there top rider, they will claim they have the best bike but wonder why they lose again. They got lucky with Stoner then let him go. I don’t think Dovi is the answer but I hope they gave him a fair offer. Pol is gonna be quick and considered a sly move by me for Honda.

  7. mickey says:

    A. Marques goes to LCR Honda with factory equipment.

    • Jeremy says:

      Agreed, that’s the only workable solution if this rumor holds true, which seems all but set in stone. Then who gets dumped from LCR, Cal or Taka? One could say that Cal has run his course, and he has been flirting with retirement anyway. But on the other hand, he has been the only other rider that has been somewhat competitive on the Honda for several years. Do you risk putting two riders at LCR who are very likely to finish outside of the top 10 every race? Or do you keep the old vet around and keep your eye in the next group of young superstars to replace him in a couple of years?

      • mickey says:

        The other LCR seat is for a Japanese rider. Taka isn’t going anywhere.

        The guys that waffle about retiring, especially out loud, are the expendable ones. Cal may be looking for a ride.

    • fred says:

      I suspect that Alex will have full Honda support as long as Marc is doing well and Alex is reasonably competitive.

      It will be nice when the races start and the speculation slows down.

  8. Tom R says:

    On a related note: any ideas about when KTM will actually be “Ready to Race” in MotoGP?

    They’ve been at it a few years now…