With Alex Marquez already out the door at Honda, it appears Espargaro could be the next MotoGP rider on the move with a return to KTM. 

Before joining Honda, Espargaro was evolving into a rider capable of challenging for race wins and at times looked like a championship contender during the 2020 season. 

Yes, Espargaro was also in contention to win this year’s season opener in Qatar, while he also claimed a brilliant pole at Silverstone last season, but moments like that have been few and far between since joining Repsol Honda. 

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Having spent four seasons with KTM (2017-20) - claimed six podiums during the time, five of which came in 2020 - Espargaro’s move to Honda is one that in hindsight looks to have been a mistake.

Although the last two seasons have been a struggle for KTM as well, a return to the Austrian manufacturer could be just what Espargaro needs in order to re-find his form. 

Espargaro in contention to replace MotoGP rookie Raul Fernandez

With it looking more and more likely that Fernandez will leave the team, Espargaro appears to be the favourite to replace the Spaniard.

With the factory team already set for 2023, the focus for KTM is now on its Tech 3 rides as Remy Gardner is also in the running to stay with the team. 

Asked whether he’s trying to sign Espargaro, Tech 3 Team Manager Poncharal told BT Sport: "Might be. But I have heard a few names. Every manufacturer is potentially a winner. They are all competitive. 

"The KTM organisation are preparing the next two years and they want to take the next step. You need youth and experience, and people who believe in the project.

"Clearly Pol is someone who left an incredible memory because, from day one, he was in this project. He is someone who, in each lap, is pushing. 

"The leader of the championship is Fabio Quartararo but, if you look at what Pol is doing, there is not one lap where he is two or three seconds off the pace. 

"This is something that is helping the whole project. Clearly Pol is somebody who could be a big asset to us. He left. He is a bit nostalgic for what he left. So everything is possible."

When the question was posed to Poncharal about Espargaro being first choice, he said: "He is in a good position in the list."