Espargaro only qualified in the top 10 twice in the first nine races of the season, which limits the Spaniard to a best race result of eighth in Le Mans.
This puts him in 12th place overall at halftime of the season, two places behind teammate Marc Marquez, who missed the first two races due to persistent injuries.
Espargaro has shown strong pace several times in practice but says he still struggles if he attacked in a single lap because he doesn’t fully understand the limits of the RC213V.
“What happens is that everyone knows how good their bike is and that happens,” Espargaro said when asked about his difficulties in qualifying.
“When everyone is pushing, it’s the moment when you have to get the most out of your bike, but don’t have to make any mistakes.
“Without preparation for the season, I only drive on the race weekends, when I have to put pressure on for a fast lap, I fall or drive too far. That is a weakness in knowledge.
“It happened in this qualifying [at Assen]when I tried to attack I made a mistake with the front tire thinking it was good, but actually it wasn’t good.
“That is knowledge for the future, if the same situation arises, we will use the middle front [instead of the soft] and everything will be fine. But that was the problem. We make mistakes out of a lack of knowledge. “
Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Espargaro only had five days of testing on the Honda before the start of the season – all of them took place in Qatar, where the first two races were also held.
Under normal circumstances, Espargaro would have run two days in Jerez in November, three in Sepang in February and three more in Qatar before the first round.
With such a limited preseason in 2021, Espargaro admits he missed valuable time making mistakes on the bike.
“I miss making mistakes in tests and not during a race weekend,” he said. “It’s obvious that I make a lot of mistakes on the weekends, that’s because of my lack of knowledge.
“That’s it, it’s about understanding the problems. If you make the mistake, don’t repeat it, but you have to make the mistake. “