Pol Espargaro is one of the better positioned MotoGP riders to analyse the strengths of the Honda having previously ridden the M1 Yamaha and KTM RC16 - two extremely different bikes with the latter having some similar characteristics to the Honda. 

This Sunday the Spanish rider makes his competitive debut on the Repsol Honda, a bike which has often been labelled difficult to ride, and needing an aggressive style of rider to get the best from it. 

And while Espargaro fits the mold of an aggressive style, similar to that of his new team-mate Marc Marquez, the former KTM rider does not believe it deserves to be categorised as the 'most difficult' bike to ride. 

Espargaro has only had four days on the bike with pre-season testing in Qatar, but the 2013 Moto2 champion has looked extremely quick and smooth on the Honda. 

Speaking at the first official press conference of the season, Espargaro was asked about the challenges of riding the Honda. 

"Yes, I mean in the past when I hear someone saying this bike is very difficult, I was always thinking the same," said Espargaro. 

"For me the Honda is for sure not the easiest bike on the grid, but I don't agree that it is the most difficult bike on the grid.

"You just need to match with the riding style of this bike and I feel in the Qatar test I was matching it a little.

"I don’t know how much because we just ride for four days in the same place, so it is difficult to evaluate how much I’m connected to the bike, but I would take out this topic that the bike is difficult and I want to be positive and to be proactive and make things happen."

Honda do not have the best record in Qatar, with their last victory coming in 2014. However, if not for two outstanding performances from Andrea Dovizioso in 2018 and 2019, Marquez could well have had a further two wins for the team. 

Espargaro acknowledged the team's record in Qatar but remains positive, and if testing results go to form this Sunday, he could be a contender for victory. 

Espargaro added: "So starting here in Qatar has not been the best for the Honda and for sure not one of my best tracks, but even like that the test was quite positive. So as I said, we will go for it and see what we can do in these first races."

 

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