MotoGP Austria: ‘Factory contract matters a lot’ - Espargaro

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Pol Espargaro departs Repsol Honda for a return to KTM and Tech3 next season heading the all-new GasGas Factory MotoGP line up.

Announced at the Red Bull Ring ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, the Spaniard was both pleased with the progression of his future career and keeping both feet on the ground as he continues to grapple with the troublesome RC213V.

“Joining next two years GasGas Factory Team will be great,” Espargaro confirmed from Spielberg on Friday afternoon. “It was something that I was looking for, for sure, to go to a factory team.

“Having a factory contract that means having factory parts and having the same bike than the factory guys of KTM, this matters a lot for me. Is not just to make the results, also to feel part of something, to keep developing the bike I started with.

“Spending four years in one place, for sure you get a lot of friends and a lot of people that becomes kind of your family. Also going to GasGas Factory Team, I’m going to bring with me some staff that I had in the past in KTM as well.

“But in the same time I feel that we need to park a little bit all these emotions. Right now I’m trying to improve the situation with Honda. We need to improve the result till the end of the year. This is my work at the moment, my brain is just full of inputs of Honda, trying to figure it out how to be faster with this bike and next year is going to be next year. This year we need to focus on Repsol Honda team because they are giving everything to try to improve the bike and I’m with them.”

With that said, the opening day of practice found the 31-year-old 14th in the combined times after a day of mixed weather conditions alongside the new addition of the revised turn two layout.

“We are not that far from the top,” he said of his 1’30.364 best lap. “Just half a second at a tight circuit like this is a lot better than our position shows. But this is MotoGP so every tenth counts and there are a few tools we can pull out tomorrow to close the gap.

“We aren’t in Q2 at the moment but if the weather holds tomorrow we will be pushing hard to make the top ten. We are working together inside Honda to improve, Marc [Marquez] was here also today watching and listening to the team talk.”