Pol Espargaro had struggled to hide his disappointment after a tenth-place finish in Sunday’s Spanish MotoGP, saying he struggled in every area bar braking and revealing the variety of Honda packages on the grid were adding to his ‘confusion’ in learning his new bike.
But he felt happier after notched up a huge 89 laps at the Monday test, despite two falls, as he finished a competitive sixth on the final timesheets.
The Spaniard was also less than two tenths from the top Honda of Takaaki Nakagami, who matched his race finish with fourth.
It is not thought that Espargaro tried the 2020 chassis on Monday, but he did have plenty of other new components – including aerodynamics, electronics and ergonomics – scattered across a reported three different bikes.
“Honda kept me busy today!” Espargaro said. “We have worked on many things, electronics, aero, ergonomics – they seem simple or small topics but when you’re still new to a bike they can make a big difference together.
“We have performed well today, I was close to Taka who has been the strongest Honda this weekend, so I am happy.
“I always say, even if the things we test work or not, we are learning. It’s a process we need to go through. We need to be open minded and keep trying things and don’t be scared of mistakes or problems. It’s a matter of laps, understanding, experience.
“We have learned a lot today and it has been very good for me to ride and try things without the pressure of a race weekend.
“Putting one lap together with a fresh soft tyre is still taking some time, I think it’s a problem for all riders that have changed bikes because you need to know a bike well to take it to the limit.
“Now we look to Le Mans.”
Le Mans was the scene of Honda’s first podium of last season, with Espargaro’s Repsol predecessor Alex Marquez, who was 15th fastest on Monday.
Marc Marquez withdrew from testing after 7 laps due to his physical condition, following the strain of a race weekend and two big falls.