Pol Espargaro slams Honda MotoGP exit rumors as ‘fake news’

The 2013 Moto2 world champion joined Honda last season on a two-year contract and was expected to remain in place for 2023.

However, Suzuki’s shock decision to leave MotoGP at the end of 2022 – which was officially confirmed on Thursday ahead of the French Grand Prix, a week after initial reports from Autosport – has seen the rider market move towards a likely rapprochement between Honda and 2020. world champion Joan Mir.

While Mir denied any direct connection to Honda on Thursday at Le Mans, Espargaro flatly ruled out any speculation that he would be ousted by Honda for 2023.

“Well, there are two ways to call it: rumors or fake news,” the 30-year-old said when asked by Autosport to comment on his plans for 2023.

“We live in a world where we are increasingly surrounded by fake news.

MORE: The aftershock left by Suzuki’s decision to quit MotoGP

“It started with an Italian journalist [who said something] that Alberto [Puig, team boss] said something to me after the race [at Jerez].

“It’s not true, it’s fake. But as we see with politics all over the world with the fake news, it’s hard to control.

“A bad journalist can do that. So ultimately what I’m telling you is that until it’s official, I won’t comment on rumours.

“Rumours are rumours, fake news is fake news. I’ll be here until Valencia, when it’s official, we’ll talk about it.”

Espargaro dismissed talk in the paddock that his place at Honda was threatened by free agent Mir

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport footage

But when asked if he was worried about his future, Espargaro said his concerns were no more than usual – while emphasizing the fact that he had had a fulfilling career.

“I mean, it is what it is. I’m a rider, I’m a MotoGP rider and I want to be here,” added the Spaniard, who sits 12th in the standings ahead of the French GP.

“But at the end of the day, I’m a runner. If I’m not going to be here [at Honda] I will be somewhere else.

“Otherwise I’m going to be team manager or whatever. I don’t know. I’ve had an amazing sporting career no matter what. I hope it comes back as a MotoGP rider.

“But otherwise, I’ve had an amazing career, fighting with the best riders in the world for many, many years.

“But for sure I want to stay here. But I’m not worried. I would be worried at 21, not now.”

Mir’s manager says no contract has been signed

Mir manager Paco Sanchez says no contract has yet been signed with Honda, or with any manufacturer, but says he is in talks with all factories.

Sanchez revealed at Le Mans on Thursday that Mir’s “priority” was still to continue with Suzuki, but said he had now entered into discussions – with some meetings due to take place this weekend – with brands he deems worthy of Mir’s talent.

Mir's manager Sanchez is in talks with several MotoGP manufacturers to get him a factory bike in 2023

Mir’s manager Sanchez is in talks with several MotoGP manufacturers to get him a factory bike in 2023

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport footage

He also says there is no rush to get something and that he will negotiate the terms for Mir as if Suzuki is staying on the show.

“Joan’s priority has always been to try to renew the contract with Suzuki,” Sanchez said.

“We tried to renew the contract with [Shinichi] Sahara-san, and later with Livio Suppo when he arrived, from October last year.

“They know Joan would like to renew. For us, we have no doubt that they will extend Joan’s contract, so our position was comfortable.

“We were waiting because Livio arrived in the last moments, so we understood that Livio liked to close this case.

“After all that’s happened [Suzuki quitting] and the news appeared on Motorsport.com, obviously I’ve started contacts with all the team managers in the paddock – all the team managers who I think can have a bike for Joan.

“I didn’t call everyone because it didn’t make sense. I’m not interested in going to Tech3 or going to Pramac.

“My priority is to find a factory bike. So I’ve been in contact with all of them, we have meetings here. I’ll try to close something as soon as possible, but we’re not worried.

“We’re not in a weak position to say ‘We don’t have a job, please give me a contract’. For me it’s ‘You love Joan, he’s a world champion , I think its potential is high in every motorcycle.

Mir recently clinched his first grid spot in Portugal and currently sits sixth in the MotoGP standings.

Mir recently clinched his first grid spot in Portugal and currently sits sixth in the MotoGP standings.

Photo by: Suzuki Moto GP

“So if you like it, we are open to negotiation, but on normal terms – regardless of Suzuki leaving the championship.”

“We have meetings here, but I can’t say more. I have a lot of journalists saying that we signed with Yamaha, or Honda – all of that is absolutely wrong, completely wrong.

“We could be close to signing one of them, yes we could be. But in my world, I’m a lawyer, contracts are either void or out.

“It’s 100% or nothing. We were so close to signing with these people, and now we’re in deep shit.

“Every day things can happen. Tomorrow Joan could have an accident here while driving, we have not signed anything. We have nothing, he has a big injury, we have nothing. That’s the truth , then we’ll see.

“I will keep more or less the same conditions that we had with Suzuki. This is our priority.

“Otherwise Joan will go home. He won’t ride here for zero or those shitty contracts that now KTM, Ducati are giving their riders.

“I have another rider in MotoGP – Remy [Gardner] — and I know how shitty his contract is. Rémy accepted this, but for Joan, it is unacceptable.”

Sanches criticized contracts offered to Ducati and KTM riders, effectively excluding his client from racing in 2023

Sanches criticized contracts offered to Ducati and KTM riders, effectively excluding his client from racing in 2023

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport pictures

Sanchez also confirmed Suzuki’s initial offer to Mir in Portugal last month was “unacceptable” and was less than his first contract in 2019 when he was a rookie.

“The first offer was an unacceptable offer to Portimao,” he said.

“Over the last year, and at the beginning of this year, we talked about maintaining the conditions he had.

“And Sahara-san said ‘we’re interested, Paco, don’t worry, you know the Japanese’. And it’s true. We took months to sign a contract with Davide Brivio [in 2019] the first time.

“We spent six or seven months before signing the contract. So I know that these people are really slow in making documents.

“But I wasn’t worried, because I had Davide Brivio’s word, and this time I had Sahara-san’s word.

“Joan was happy because he is happy with the team, with his performance because they improved the bike. Now everything was perfect. Suddenly that changed.

“Why? I think it was a decision made by people who don’t have a passion for MotoGP. It was made by people in suits on a chair in Japan – they’ve never been here. They don’t don’t worry about the people who work here.” .

If Mir joined Honda, he'd likely partner Marquez

If Mir joined Honda, he’d likely partner Marquez

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport pictures

“For me, it’s crap because everyone here is professional. They did very well with a very small budget. They don’t deserve to be in this situation.”

If Mir ends up at Honda, he will face six-time world champion Marc Marquez.

But when asked what he thought of the challenge, Mir replied: “Go now and ask any driver if they want to be a teammate who I’m sure is the best in the game. history. What you can learn from a guy like that is huge.”

Comments are closed.