The Spanish rider, who returns to KTM with its rebranded Tech3 GasGas squad for the 2023 season, said it was “difficult to accept” the team’s decision to pause development on his bike ahead of his departure.
Espargaro struggled this season, finishing 16th in the standings with a best finish of third at the season opener in Qatar and repeatedly stated his unhappiness later in the year at Honda electing to stop giving him new parts upon news of his KTM return.
He says he only felt like a factory Honda rider for one year because of a “completely redundant” 2022 in which he faced the “same problems every single weekend.”
Asked whether he felt Honda’s decision not to give him new parts was them looking more at the short term, he said: “It’s how I worked at KTM. At KTM, until Valencia, I was testing new things.
“In Valencia, it was the first time I was trying the rear device for them, which is important stuff now, so I was testing in the last race the rear device for them and I helped them improve it.
“It’s different ways of working. I think the one I’m leaving is the wrong one, I really think so but it’s their way of doing things. I’m nobody to tell them how to do things, I’m just a rider that rides a bike, that’s it.
“It’s difficult to accept, but at the end of the day, it ends up in the same place. It’s not my factory, it’s not my bike, I’m just a guy that they pay to ride a bike, that’s it. I do whatever they want to.
“For sure, I don’t like it, and I feel like they are wasting their time and money with me, because I could be motivated and full power and doing results and enjoying things more.
“But at the end of the day, I don’t know if they don’t do it because they don’t want to or because they can’t, so this is the point where I am now.”
Speaking during the Valencia weekend, his last with the team, Espargaro expressed his disappointment at his time with the squad and said he was “sad” for the situation.
He added: “I felt that I was a factory Honda rider for one year. This year it’s been completely redundant, with the same problems every single weekend, every race, and really struggling.
Pol Espargaro, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing
Photo by: GasGas Factory Racing
“When I am struggling normally it’s the way to find a solution. Not all riders have the same riding style so you need to adapt the bike to each rider, this is the way to improve, but it was not the case.
“So I’m sad for this situation because I think I have huge potential. I was one of the best in the pre-season and also in Qatar, but since the results start to bend a little because normal problems appear.
“This is MotoGP, it’s never the same. You need to keep improving and keep doing things to be better, but we didn’t. Well, I didn’t, in my side of the pitbox.
“So that’s the reason why I keep struggling so much and at the end of the day, it ends up the way it is now which is sad, because I think I have potential and hopefully I will show it in the future.”
Espargaro said his two years at Honda had been “the most difficult two years in my sporting career”, and had also affected his personal life.
He said: “From the good things, you learn a lot, but from the bad things I think you learn even more – how to manage the bad and stressful situations.
“I can tell you those two years have been the most difficult two years in my sporting career, because it’s not the same thing doing bad results wearing normal colours on a normal bike.
“Doing bad results wearing these colours is super painful. Honestly, in my personal life, this affects quite a lot.
“I have two daughters at home who are two and to enjoy them while I was doing these results was quite difficult for me.
“Especially you learn that the good moments, you really need to enjoy them, because they are short and fast and the bad moments here hurt a lot because everyone is seeing you.
“So hopefully next year and the next two years, good things are going to come, and I will be able to enjoy them a little bit more thanks to those two years.”