Emilia-Romagna MotoGP: Hondas 1. 1-2 in five years a “big reward” – Puig | MotoGP

Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro secured Repsol Honda’s first MotoGP 1-2 in over five years during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

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After both Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia took the lead at Turn 15, Marquez took a commanding third win of the year while Espargaro turned his second best qualifying of 2021 into a best ever result with Honda.

The last time two Honda riders achieved such a result was when Marquez took victory in 2017 at Aragon ahead of his former long-time teammate Dani Pedrosa.

The win for Marquez is his second in a row and also Honda’s first victories in a row since 2019.

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After the weekend, team manager Alberto Puig added: “We approached this weekend to compare this race with the first one at Misano to see our progress. This result is great.

“A 1-2 is never easy, even when you’re in the best of shape and this isn’t our best moment. But we still managed to achieve this fantastic result.

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“I think it’s due to a combination of factors: a great performance from our drivers, the continued work from Honda, the great support from Repsol and all of our other sponsors, and of course the hard work of our team members.

“We have clearly shown that we will never give up or give in. This result is a great feeling, a great reward for everyone involved in this project.”

While Marquez won his first race on a right-handed circuit since Motegi 2019, this is a big moment in his recovery and potential ambitions as he heads into 2022, as is Espargaro’s first podium for the team.

Espargaro has had a very challenging debut season for the Japanese team that seemed unlikely to reach a podium.

A qualifying in fourth on Saturday, however, already showed that Espargaro’s improvements from last month’s test at Misano were carried over into the weekend before taking not only his first podium for Honda, but also his best MotoGP result ever.

“Pol Espargaró has had a very difficult season with great expectations. We know it has not been easy, but the positive point is that he never gives up,” added Puig, speaking of Espargaro’s podium.

“He’s always trying to find a solution, and so is his team – his group shares his belief in never giving up.

“After all, yesterday was a gift, it deserves it, but it was also a gift for the team and for Honda because we’re all helping them as best we can.

“We are very happy for him and the fact that he has achieved his best position so far for Honda with his first podium in these colors shows his potential.

“Now we hope that his self-confidence continues to grow and that he can continue to push the bike to the limit.”