Espargaro showed strong racing pace in the first three races of 2021 on the RC213V, but only achieved a best-of-eight at the Qatar GP and was pushed out of the Portugal race due to a brake failure of the rear brake.
But so far Espargaro has not been able to build on his qualifying form with his racing pace, the Spaniard only cracked the top 12 once.
During the Portuguese GP weekend, Espargaro admits the biggest problem he has is understanding the limits of the Honda front that are holding him back from doing clean laps in qualifying.
However, he assumes that this is more due to a lack of experience than a problem with the motorcycle and did not want to blame the previous tire distribution of the front tires this season.
“Well, this type of bike – including the KTM – are bikes where you hit the brakes most of the time, break in quickly, stop the bike, turn and drive off,” explained Espargaro.
“Then you have to brake hard, but if you don’t know where to brake, that’s a problem.
“So if you don’t know exactly where the limit of the front is, this is a problem because then you can’t get the best grip performance.
“Right now it feels like I’m fine in other sectors. In T1 [at Portimao], I was the fastest in my qualifying, so I can be quick.
“But I don’t hit all sectors on the lap because because you gain time on the brakes, I drive too often and make too many mistakes there.
“That is a problem because if you are not fast and you cannot bring everything together, one or two tenths are enough in this tight qualifying to finish first, fourth or fifth.
“It’s just about doing more laps, knowing the situation a little better, going to places where I know more about the braking points.
“Then I think that it will be much easier for me to understand the situation and, above all, to compare all sectors on one lap.
“So we just have to be patient and it will come because we have the speed. I have to assemble it. “
Espargaro admitted ahead of last weekend’s race that Marc Marquez’s return was “important” for him to continue his adaptation to the Honda.
LCR’s Alex Marquez – who was eighth behind his brother in the Portugal race – noticed that Marc was already showing the Honda drivers the limits of the RC213V.
“I’m on the right track, but it looks like I’m home,” he said when asked if it was strange to have his brother back in the paddock after his season.
“So it’s better to have him back, for Honda too.
“It pushes the bike to its limits, it shows us the bike’s limit again. So that’s good for us. “