After making an impressive breakthrough in recent rounds, MotoGP rider Pol Espargaro is upbeat about his chances at Portimao despite not having great memories at the Portuguese circuit with Honda.

Espargaro took his first podium of the year at Misano two weeks ago - also happened to be his first for Honda, however, April’s third round of the year at the Algarve International Circuit was far from what the Spaniard wanted.

A big crash at the final corner led to the first of two DNF’s this year for Espargaro. 

But with Espargaro finishing the last five races in the points - his best run with the Japanese manufacturer to date, the 30 year-old believes ‘we have a lot more opportunities to do a great weekend’. 

"Portimao is a place where I normally enjoy quite a lot and in the past year with the KTM I enjoyed it a lot," said Espargaro. 

"Sure, it was not amazingly good, but it was a decent race and I almost finished on the podium (2020). 

"But in the beginning of the year we came here with many, many problems, I struggled with a big crash in the last corner and I don’t have the best of memories with the Honda here. 

"Anyway, I came here in the summer break to train so I have the circuit layout a little bit fresher in my mind than the others which is nice. 

"Also the bike has changed a lot since that moment and the beginning of the year. 

"Honestly speaking, we have a lot more opportunities to have a great weekend compared to what we did at the start of this season."

As hinted at by Espargaro, the recent improvements have come from changes that are specific to trying various parts for next year’s RC213V machine.

So while ‘this season is over’ for Espargaro, the former KTM rider has used it as one to learn from before making a complete reset. 

Espargaro added: "From the past races I have been working in that direction (2022) - thinking about that. Of course, this season is over for me and has been for many races. 

"So, I started to think about the future with Honda and we have tried to do the best we could with the current package ahead of next year. 

"We’ve tried to generate or copy what we have inside the rules about next year’s bike and we had some pros and cons. 

"For example, we had quite a lot of problems in Texas, but then in Misano we had all the cons as pros. 

"Thinking about next year, I'm really looking forward to just making a reset with all the experience and knowledge that I now have with the Honda."