Pol Espargaro is in no doubt that the new RC213V Repsol Honda bike can propel him into the 2022 MotoGP title fight. 

Despite losing out on a potential maiden MotoGP win during the final five laps in Qatar, Espargaro has already matched his podium tally of 2021 in just the opening race of the year. 

Espargaro, who led 17 of 22 laps before making a crucial mistake behind Enea Bastianini - out-braked himself whilst in the Ducati rider’s slipstream which saw him run off track - continues to build on an already good pre-season performance, showing that not just Marc Marquez can fight for MotoGP wins on this version of the Honda. 

In fact, his performance has given him so much belief that the former KTM rider is dreaming of battling for a world title. 

Espargaro said: "I was with good pace and position in Malaysia, then I was first in Mandalika with a good feeling on the race pace, was quite fast. 

"Then I was saying let's just wait for the first race and let’s see what happens there. Now we are in the first race, I lead almost all the race and I have been powerful. I felt powerful on the bike. 

"I feel that I can do that in all the races, so we started from Qatar and the feeling was nice. We take 16 points here and we move to Mandalika which is a place where I’m fast. 

"Finally we can achieve what I’m dreaming everytime I wake up, which is to be world champion. For sure, I’m going to fight for it with Honda."

Although he held on for a podium finish, Espargaro faced late pressure from his brother Aleix who was able to charge through from sixth to fourth in the closing stages thanks to overtakes on Joan Mir and Marquez. 

Asked about knowing who was behind him and finally being in a position where both riders have a bike good enough to battle for the win, Espargaro said: "Well I was crying [laughs] to see my brother next to me to have a nice fight. 

"I think today was not a good day for me because I was fighting without the correct weapons at the end of the race. My tyres were completely finished. 

"I was not able to fight with anybody I think. It was good to keep him behind, but I don’t remember the last time two brothers are third and fourth, I think maybe it was in Silverstone last year. 

"He is fast with Aprilia and I can be fast with the Honda so I think it’s going to happen soon that we are going to fight for the podium with my brother. This is beautiful."