Pol Espargaro, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3:
2023 marks your tenth year in MotoGP. How does it feel to be part of this brand new, fresh project, GASGAS coming into the class?
PE: It’s so lovely, especially now that I am getting older. You said already that I am now ten years in
MotoGP, and it seems impossible. It looks like I started yesterday! The years have passed for the people around me and me, and coming to this project during my sporting career is lovely.
It is mainly because it is a home brand, and I had seen this brand [when I was] growing as a child. It is so lovely to come back.
We talked about your history in MotoGP. Of course, you are back with the team where it all started. How does it feel to come back to Tech3, and what does it mean to you?
PE: It’s like restarting again and going to the roots. I have known many people from my beginnings, and it’s so lovely because I can compare myself to a young and crazy guy starting in MotoGP. Now I am more
mature, and I know what I am doing, and it’s good for them to see also how a guy can grow, not just personally but in riding style and technique. They can compare and see if I am better or not! It’s nice.
One thing that MotoGP fans love about you, in particular, is your transparency; you wear your heart on your sleeve. After the first test in Valencia, we saw how much it meant to you to ride the GASGAS RC16 for the first time.
After Valencia and all the hard work in Sepang, what is your emotion with this motorcycle, and what is the potential with this motorcycle?
PE: The potential is high on this bike. We have a lot of work to do because the level in MotoGP right now is super-high, and we can reach it. In Valencia, I just felt the DNA of the bike, you know? And when it matches your DNA, it makes you feel so good.
I enjoyed so much riding this bike. In Malaysia, we were into the new aero packs, the new engine, and the new systems that GASGAS and the Pierer Mobility Group developed during the winter. And right now, the bike is at an excellent level, and it is almost ready to fight for something very significant this year.
GASGAS is a brand new project, as we said in MotoGP. There is a lot of effort, staff and resources going into it. You and Augusto are correct on the front of that. How does that frame your goals for this year?
PE: Yeah, sure, for a brand as young as GASGAS in MotoGP, it is going to be tricky because we need to fight against other manufacturers that are so big, but I honestly think that, together with Augusto, we are a great team and the atmosphere inside the unit is excellent.
It’s in this GASGAS mood: friendly, close to people, and hard workers, so if we fight and work together as a team, we will be there. We will be right at the top.
You mentioned you are not the youngest in the class… This year what is the emphasis? What is your approach to racing? Are you the development guy? The ambassador? Or will you be the same attacking Pol Espargaro that we have seen before…?
PE: No, I want to be the guy leading the factory. I want to be the one that the factory sees as the top guy of the factory! It’s what I like. I don’t like going into political things. You know, I’m a racer. I want to be the fastest, and I want to be the wildest and try to be on the top [as much] as
possible. I don’t have this craziness that young guys have at my age. With age comes something else; experience. I can use it in my way to be the fastest.
We know you are a big off-road guy, so going into a GASGAS dealership or looking on the website is a bit like Christmas. Is it tempting to pick out a couple of models for the garage?
PE: Yeah! I was like a child on the website of GASGAS trying to find out what bike fits me better because there are plenty of opportunities, you know? And I’m a huge fan of motocross in Europe and
America; following so much [Jorge] Prado or [Justin] Barcia. I am a massive fan of MX and love it, so I work as hard as possible to be fast and good. I wish I could ride with them one day. It would be amazing.