Today’s Emilia-Romagna MotoGP was a day of firsts for Pol Espargaro as he claimed a first podium for Honda and his first ever second place. 

While the Spanish rider claimed six podiums during his four years with KTM - the most of any rider for the Austrian manufacturer, none were higher than P3 until today as Espargaro contributed to a Repsol Honda 1-2. 

Like team-mate Marc Marquez, both riders were behind the pre-race favorites Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia before they crashed out. 

Outside of today’s podium and his Silverstone pole position, battling at the sharp end has been a real struggle for the 30 year-old. Which is why today’s result was called a ‘bubble of oxygen’ for him and the team.

Speaking after his first rostrum finish as a factory Honda man, Espargaro added: "This feels so good! It feels so good after a tough season for sure. We had a lot of ups and downs; some good races but not enough, and some very bad moments. 

"I didn’t give up and I was pushing so much the whole year, working harder and harder to try and get something else from it. 

"Finally, talking about me, about my ego, it’s nice to be here as my best result ever in MotoGP with a Honda feels so good. 

"But especially for the entire Honda manufacturer because these guys have struggled so much with the Covid time. 

"I know from my time with European manufactures that they were not struggling as much as Japanese ones, and finally to be 1-2 in one of the toughest seasons for Honda in history feels so great. 

"It's a bubble of oxygen for everybody and is going to help us to work for next year and to try and make this happen more often."

While Espargaro was able to come home a safe second following Miguel Oliveira’s crash whilst behind him with a few laps left, the Spaniard was unable to rival Marquez due to losing too much time early on.

Espargaro was caught up behind Oliveira and unable to make a pass for several laps due to struggling with a heavier machine. 

"I knew I had a good rhythm, I knew I could do a very fast race because in the test I was fast. But, the problem is I’m not able to overtake at the beginning with a full tank as easily as Marc can do," added Espargaro. 

"He knows much more about the bike on the limit and on the brakes. I didn’t want to make a mistake at the beginning of the race because that is the worse thing that can happen in the race, especially if you have the chance to do something great as we did today. 

"Today I was behind Miguel [Oliveira] and I saw these guys pushing at the beginning and I said ‘no way’ [laughs]. 

"They were going so fast and they were creating a gap to Miguel. I was there right behind him and I knew I was faster, but I couldn’t overtake and I took too long. When I did overtake it was already one and a half/two seconds and I couldn’t recover."