Honda has radically re-designed its RC213V for the 2022 season following two troublesome years for the Japanese producer in 2020 – which was its first winless marketing campaign ever because it returned to MotoGP full-time in 1982 – and 2021.
Although it managed three wins final yr courtesy of a still-recovering Marc Marquez, Honda nonetheless ended the yr 143 factors shy of constructors’ champions Ducati in fourth within the standings.
Espargaro managed only one podium and one pole place in a troublesome first season with Honda in 2021 having switched from KTM, with all RC213V riders hampered by the issues brought about from a scarcity of rear grip.
The Spaniard was significantly hindered by having simply 5 days of testing on the RC213V, all in Qatar, earlier than beginning the season – resulting in him admitting on the finish of 2021 that he “wasn’t prepared” for the primary race.
Pre-season testing in 2022 will solely consist of 5 days for non-rookies unfold throughout Sepang and the brand new Mandalika observe in Indonesia.
On the two-day post-season take a look at at Jerez in November, Honda’s 2022 prototype was met with reward from its riders – however Espargaro admits it’s nonetheless to early to say how significantly better it’s in comparison with its predecessor.
“The bike is healthier, however it’s nonetheless too early to speak about how a lot it’s higher as a result of to start with the factor is we have to put the bike on observe along with the opposite bikes to see the place we’re,” he stated final week at Honda’s 2022 launch presentation.
“We aren’t the one ones taking part in this sport, and we’re not the one ones placing a brand new bike on the observe.
“Everyone seems to be doing the identical and everybody goes to do a step up, so how good the bike goes to be we’ll see in a couple of days in Malaysia along with the opposite bikes.
Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Group
Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“It’s no sense saying the bike is significantly better if we’re two tenths faster and the remaining are half a second faster.
“So, it’s one thing that we have to preserve engaged on, after which we’re going to see within the first races of the yr – even when within the first races we’re not on high, this doesn’t imply something.
“The brand new bike takes time. Unluckily we’ve simply 5 days of testing, which I believe is sufficient, but when not it’s no panic.
“We’re going to have the possibility to enhance the bike having the 4 riders of the manufacturing facility at full efficiency means the bike goes to be significantly better sooner.”
Whereas extra rear grip has been the principle request for Honda riders – and which has seemingly been delivered with the 2022 prototype – Espargaro notes the bike wants extra horsepower additionally to match Ducati.
“What we ask for, the grip was one thing vital for all of us, but in addition we’ve seen previously years the Ducati is tremendous robust on the straights,” he added.
“It’s the important thing to overhaul and the important thing to struggle for the races.
“So, if we wish to do an excellent season this yr, extra Ducatis are going to be on the grid, so it means we should be quicker on the straights to attempt to struggle with them to get positions again and even to defend them.
“Every little thing is vital, every thing issues. The best way is sweet however we have to stay calm.”