Honda has come under fire from Pol Espargaro for “not trying hard enough” to find a solution to its dismal performance in the 2022 MotoGP season.
The formerly all-powerful manufacturer is currently firmly entrenched at the bottom of the constructors’ standings with just one podium finish among its four cars, including the two at satellite team LCR, throughout the entire season.
This comes as six-time premier class champion Marc Marquez has been issuing numerous warning statements on Honda’s performance lately despite being unable to compete owing to a lack of fitness.
Marquez recently made a rare trip to the racetrack, mostly to monitor the Repsol Honda Team, and he claimed during the Austrian Grand Prix that Honda’s issue wasn’t with the bike specifically, but with the way it managed its MotoGP project.
Espargaro, who will rejoin the KTM team at GasGas Factory Racing in 2019, was more direct following the just concluded San Marino Grand Prix.
Honda’s lack of progress on the RC213V’s development, including what it has prepared for the two-day test that begins on Wednesday, was criticized by the 2013 Moto2 champion.
“How many things, how many parts have we tested since Qatar on this bike?” he said in his post-race interview for MotoGP’s official website. “Not so much… It doesn’t look like we have a lot of things to try, so like that, you will not improve.”
“The others, you see, they are putting wings on their bikes every three months, every two months, and they are trying to make it better and they are always faster and faster.”
“The race today has been half a second per lap faster than last year’s race when we were on the podium with Marc, so imagine, we would be ridiculously bad last year as well compared to this year, so we need to improve.”
Espargaro was involved in a chaotic four-rider crash at the first corner that started as a result of a touch between Johann Zarco and Brad Binder, and he was unable to finish the San Marino Grand Prix. Given that he had qualified all the way back in 19th, he eventually put the blame on Honda.
“Well, it’s everything in our hands… and starting in the back, you have more troubles,” Espargaro said. “For sure, it was not our fault.”
“We have been taken out first by Brad – he entered a little bit too fast in the first corner but nothing wrong with it; just aggressive. But then he pushed out Johann and Johann pushed out [Michele] Pirro and Pirro pushed out me.”
“We can complain about everything but at the end of the day, we were starting almost the last in the qualifying because we are not fast enough… That’s it. This is the main thing.”
Espargaro reasoned that in order to try to qualify for Qualifying 2 and to have a chance at the four front rows of the grid, he must now “risk everything” during practice.
“I’m the first one that wants to start in the front and do different things, but I mean, it’s not easy and for sure we need to start to work harder to improve the situation,” he remarked.
“It’s the only way to improve, work harder and we are not working hard enough.”
Marquez will participate in the test after being officially cleared to do so upon his arrival in Misano over the grand prix weekend, but it is unknown how many laps he will ride.