Pol Espargaro: ‘One result won’t change the situation’, LCR Honda an option?

No matter what he achieves at this weekend’s Catalunya MotoGP, Pol Espargaro is unconvinced ‘one result’ will help secure his future at Repsol Honda.
Pol Espargaro, Honda MotoGP Mugello
Pol Espargaro, Honda MotoGP Mugello

With the 2022 MotoGP ‘silly season’ ripe with rumours, where next for the former KTM and Yamaha rider? 

Espargaro has once again spoken about his future as decisions are likely to be made in the coming weeks. 

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A big domino fell yesterday in the shape of MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo who re-signed with Yamaha on a two-year deal. 

While it was a move everyone expected, it’s one that has provided a clearer picture for other factories. 

Honda, who were loosely linked with Quartararo at the beginning of the season, are one of the manufacturers with the most sorting out to do regarding their 2023 rider line-up.

Included in their decision is what to do with current factory rider Espargaro. It was confirmed on the eve of this weekend’s Catalan MotoGP that Takaaki Nakagami, not Espargaro would get Marc Marquez’s new swingarm and chassis components. 

A surprising move given Espargaro is at Repsol Honda, but one that could be an indication of where the team is at with the Spaniard. 

Espargaro ‘asked’ Honda for the new parts but it wasn’t enough for the team to oblige: “For sure, I asked for the best things, for the new things and the last evolution of the bike,” he said. “But I'm not the guy who chooses if I'm going to have it or not. I'm a guy that gets paid to ride the bike and be as fast as possible and is what I'm going to try to do this weekend.” 

Is LCR a possibility for Espargaro after confirming he could ‘occupy’ one of three seats at Honda?

Pol Espargaro, Italian MotoGP, 27 May
Pol Espargaro, Italian MotoGP, 27 May

With Joan Mir in the running to potentially replace Espargaro at Repsol Honda, that means the 30 year-old would have two remaining options - either moving across to LCR Honda or attempting to engineer a move back to KTM (likely Tech 3) or Aprilia’s new RNF team. 

Speaking to MotoGP.com, Espargaro added: "I don’t think one result will change the full picture of the situation. But it’s true that silly season is going, there's a lot of rumours, lot’s of talking going on in the paddock. 

"You know, there are three spots in Honda which could be occupied by me or other spots in other teams, other manufacturers that have some free spots. 

"For sure there is a lot of talk between my manager and other manufacturers. We will see in the next few races. I don’t think it’s going to take so long to know where to go. It will be interesting."

What’s the latest with MotoGP’s ‘silly season’?

With Enea Bastianini looking more and more likely to join the factory Ducati team in 2023, heavy speculation is pointing towards Jack Miller joining Red Bull KTM alongside Brad Binder. 

That would mean Miguel Oliveira is out at the Austrian manufacturer, but certainly not out of the premier class as Honda is a realistic option for the Portuguese rider. 

Miguel Oliveira, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 June
Miguel Oliveira, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 June

At Prima Pramac Ducati both seats remain available, and although there’s been little news regarding the team’s plans, retaining Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco is considered a foregone conclusion. 

In Zarco’s case, the former two-time Moto2 world champion has been performing very well in 2022 which led to team boss Paolo Campinoti saying it’s his aim to keep the French rider. 

"We are very happy with Johann [Zarco]. We are convinced that he can stay with us and we will do everything for it," Campinoti told Canal+ last month.

"We always took the decision with Ducati, but we have a little influence and what we want, is to keep Johann. Of course it also depends on him, if he wants to continue with us, but I think it’s the case. We have very good relationship. We are very happy with him."

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