Espargaro spent two “frustrating” and unsuccessful years as Marquez’s teammate at Repsol Honda, finishing 12th and 16th in the MotoGP standings and riding during the team’s woeful 2022.
But, after leaving to rejoin KTM with their rebranded Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing, he has revealed why he thinks Honda have underachieved for the past couple of seasons.
“Technically, it is a topic that belongs to specialist engineers and technicians, since they are the ones who know the reasons why a piece works or not,” Espargaro said to L’Esportiu de Catalunya.
“We didn’t know how to fix it or we didn’t have the tools to do it. With the injury of Marc Marquez, Honda decided to stop the evolution of the bike.
“In addition, we must add the problems that we already had and that the other brands continued to evolve.
“It all boils down to the lack of enthusiasm and work on the part of the engineers, who should have solved the situation at the time.”
He said about his time at Honda: “Mistreated, no, but very frustrated by the situation.
“You see that you are not doing well, that there are many expectations and that you cannot do anything because no one helps you, and you are tied by the hands and feet.
“Things don’t get better, you don’t have new pieces to reverse the situation and that despairs you because you don’t see a way out.
“I saw a lot of tranquillity and relaxation in a time of crisis and lack of control, and that bothered me a lot.”
Espargaro explained the lessons he would take away: “That, from the bad moments, you get strong.
“You more easily identify your mistakes, how you act in the face of adversity and value good times more. You learn who you can trust and who you can’t.”
Espargaro has no regrets for leaving KTM for his ill-fated spell at Honda: “No, and I say it wholeheartedly.
“I had all the options on the table and I made the decision that seemed most appropriate to me, and I would take it again. Everything is learned, even more from the bad. All athletes have to fight for our dreams regardless of money or other aspects.
“It was frustrating and very hard. Being at Repsol Honda is a privilege, very few riders are chosen to wear these colours. I saw myself with the obligation to be the person who would lead a project like this with Marc Marquez, but that was not the case. It has been a magnificent experience and I have met great professionals.
“I thought the season would be very good. The preseason was the best of my professional career, both in Thailand, where I was the fastest, and in Malaysia, where it has never gone very well, neither me nor Honda.
“In the first race in Qatar I was leading for a long time, and in Argentina I came out from the front line. Then, there was a decline that led to bad results, mistrust and many falls.”
The 2023 season begins at the Portuguese MotoGP next weekend.