Pol Espargaro

Personal Information

Full Name
Pol Espargaró Villà
CountrySpain Spain

About Pol Espargaro

After his 'dream' Repsol Honda move descended into a nightmare, Pol Espargaro jumped at the chance to return to KTM machinery in 2023, riding for the rebranded GASGAS Tech3 squad.

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After his 'dream' Repsol Honda move descended into a nightmare, Pol Espargaro jumped at the chance to return to KTM machinery in 2023, riding for the rebranded GASGAS Tech3 squad.

It will be Espargaro's tenth season in the premier class, having previously raced for Tech3 Yamaha, KTM and then the two years at Repsol Honda. But while older brother Aleix broke his victory duck at Aprilia in 2022, Pol is still seeking a first MotoGP victory.

Espargaro was born in Granollers, Spain, just behind the legendary Circuit the Catalunya. At the age of six years he took part in his first Enduro race, before competing later in Domestic Spanish road racing championships.

He first competed in World Championship racing in the 125cc class 2006, as a wild-card at the Cataluña Grand Prix. The young Spanish rider finished the race in 13th position, which at the time was a record for the youngest ever point scorer in GP racing, at the age of 15 years and eight days. Espargaro completed several additional wild-card races with a highlight being a sixth place at the finale at Valencia.

Pol then began his full time racing campaign in the 125cc class. During his first season, he scored a highly impressive podium at Estoril. He proceeded to improve, and quickly became a constant threat to the top five contenders. In 2009, the Spanish rider scored two Grand Prix victories on the way to fourth in the 125cc World Championship. In his final year in the 125cc class, Espargaro had his best season and finished third overall with three race wins.

The young Spaniard then moved up to the ultra-competitive 600cc four stroke, Moto2 class, and during his inaugural campaign in Moto2 in 2011, scored a second place at Indy and a third place at Sepang.

In 2012, Pol won a total of four Moto2 Grand Prix victories, as well as gaining seven podiums, and an impressive 8 pole positions. The end result was the runner up position in the World Championship behind Marc Marquez.

The clear favourite for the 2013 title, Espargaro nevertheless had to overcome some wobbly early season performances and a charging Scott Redding, finally overhauling the Englishman in the closing stages of the season. Espargaro took six victories, wrapping up the title at Motegi, the penultimate round.

2014 saw Espargaro step up to the premier MotoGP class with Monster Yamaha Tech3, setting personal goals of beating both his more experienced team-mate Bradley Smith and his brother Aleix.

To that end it was a successful year, Espargaro appearing every-inch the seasoned MotoGP performer on his way to top Rookie honours as well as being the leading non-Factory team rider. Though it wasn’t enough to see him score that elusive podium, a front row in France and a brave run to sixth a day after a monster shunt in Sepang were eye-catching performances.

Having built what looked like a strong foundation during his rookie season, Espargaro took a step-back during year two, sinking to ninth in the world championship as team-mate Smith got the clear upper hand. The only highlight of Espargaro's season was a Suzuka 8 hours victory for Yamaha, alongside Smith and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Smith's form saw him confirmed as KTM's first rider for its 2017 MotoGP debut, at the opening round of 2016. But Espargaro soon got the better of the Briton that year and, while a podium again remained just of reach, was signed to complete the factory KTM line-up. His parting gift to Yamaha was another Suzuka 8 Hours victory, this time with Nakasuga and Alex Lowes

Espargaro would be KTM's top rider from 2017 until his departure at the end of 2020 - including his and the RC16's first podium at Valencia 2018 - as he climbed up the riders' standings from 17th, to 14th, to 11th and finally 5th.

KTM's big jump in performance during 2020 came too late to keep Espargaro, who had already accepted the dream chance to join Repsol Honda during the Covid-delayed start to the racing season.

Having been with the RC16 project from the start, it would have been fitting if Espargaro had at least won a race before leaving. Instead he had to watch Brad Binder (1) and then Miguel Oliveira (2) celebrate from the top step, but insisted he was satisfied with his five podiums that year and playing a part in development of a winning bike.

Espargaro's decision to join Honda for 2021 was based more on legacy than recent results, the factory managing just two podiums in 2020 after Marc Marquez's arm fracture. But with just five days of pre-season testing, due to Covid rstrictions, in which to try and learn a notoriously tricky bike, and without Marquez's data to compare with until round 3, Espargaro was thrown in the deep end on a bike that appeared even less competitive than the previous season.

A lack of rear grip frequently caught out all the Honda riders and neutered Espargaro's previous reliance on the rear brake on corner entry. There was to be little reward for his efforts until Silverstone, when the grippy British track allowed the Spaniard to show his potential with pole position and fourth in the race. A debut Honda podium followed with second behind Marquez at Misano, but just as momentum was building the #44 suffered a huge highside in practice at Valencia, ruling him out of the season finale.

Returning to action a few days later, Espargaro joined his fellow Honda riders in giving a positive verdict on the all-new 2022 bike, an impression reinforced in subsequent tests at Sepang and Mandalika.

When Espargaro bolted into the lead of the Qatar season opener, and remained at the front for most of the race on his way to third, he and Honda looked in for a strong season. But the rug was pulled from under them by a harder tyre construction at Mandalika and, bizarrely, the pre-season performance never returned even when back on the usual rubber. It was, in Espargaro's words, an enigma.

With 2020 world champion Joan Mir suddenly available following Suzuki's withdraw, Espargaro's days at Repsol Honda were numbered and he spent most of the season desperately frustrated at the lack of new parts on his side of the garage.

3rd in the championship after Lusail, Espargaro slipped to 16th by the Valencia finale, three places behind team-mate Marc Marquez - who missed eight races due to injuries.

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