Current Repsol Honda rider Pol Espargaro has revisited his early seasons in MotoGP which could have led to a completely different path to that of now…

The Spanish rider joined the premier class in 2014 with the Tech 3 Monster Yamaha outfit, and after finishing sixth as a rookie, a bright future with the Japanese manufacturer looked to be on the cards.

However, two ‘tougher’ seasons followed in 2015 and 16 - finished ninth and eighth respectively, before Espargaro moved to the brand new KTM project. 

Team-mate to British rider Bradley Smith during his early years with Yamaha (and again at KTM), Espargaro was given ‘some promises’ that in his view were not delivered upon - one of which was to move to the factory Yamaha squad as discussions regarding Valentino Rossi retiring were being had. 

At the same time as those discussions took place, Suzuki, who were back in the premier class for their second consecutive year after a three-year absence from 2011-14 were interested in signing the Yamaha rider, a move Espargaro ultimately rejected.

Whilst talking on MotoGP’ official ‘Last on the brakes’ podcast, Epsargaro revisited that time and said staying with Yamaha was possibly the ‘wrong choice’. 

"I don't know if I have talked about this many times, but when I was in my second year of MotoGP, well, my first, after my first year in MotoGP with Yamaha," added Espargaro. 

"I finished fifth I think (was actually sixth), very close to fourth, which was Dovi on a Ducati. And then in that year, it was the year that Suzuki was coming back into the World Championship and I had an offer. I mean, we were talking with them.

"I got some promises from Yamaha and they were talking about, as you can imagine, the retirement of Valentino Rossi. 

"And in that moment, I said after my first year being almost at the top, in the top five, 'okay, just wait, because maybe you're going to be in the factory team'.

"Then, the second year, it was not as good at Yamaha. I had super arm pump, I needed surgery in the middle of the season, I was in the Suzuka 8 Hour race and it was not a great, great year.

"Then I saw that Suzuki started to make some amazing results and were very, very fast. And in that moment, I said, ‘okay, you made the wrong choice, you should have moved when you had the opportunity'."

Espargaro also went on to talk about how that decision played a huge role in him joining KTM as he didn’t want to miss out on another factory opportunity. 

Looking ahead to this weekend, Espargaro will once again lead Repsol Honda after it was confirmed Marc Marquez has been ruled out due to suffering from diplopia - double vision - an injury the eight-time world champion had in 2011 which then began a 4.5 month recovery. 

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s season finale at Valencia, Espargaro said: "First I want to wish Marc [Marquez] all the best during this difficult time and I hope he can recover soon and well. 

"His absence will of course be felt at the track, but we arrive in Valencia still motivated to do our job the best we can. 

"It’s a circuit that I really enjoy a lot, I achieved my first MotoGP podium there in 2018 and I think we can do well there this year. 

"The circuit is very cold at this time of year and this is good for us. It’s the last race, I want to continue the speed from the last races to end well before 2022 begins in Jerez."