Marc...Oh! Pol... No? Espargaro Has Some Big Rookie Shoes To Fill
by staff
Thursday, December 05, 2013

Pol Espargaro is the fourth 250cc/Moto2 World Champion in the last five years to climb to MotoGP as a rookie the year after winning the title. The best overall result any of the first two riders on that list - Hiroshi Aoyama and Stefan Bradl - achieved in the standings as a premier-class rookie was eighth by Bradl in 2012.

Then Marc Marquez blew all expectations for promoted Moto2 World Champions to smithereens this season, winning a rookie record six races and becoming the first rookie premier-class World Champion since Kenny Roberts in 1978.

Espargaro is a realist: He knows he's not going to match Marquez's feats in 2014 as a rookie with Tech 3 Yamaha. But he still thinks it's possible to aim for the 2013 results achieved by his predecessor, Cal Crutchlow, who left the team for a factory Ducati seat. Crutchlow finished fifth in the standings with four podium finishes and a pole aboard a satellite M1 for Herve Poncharal's team.

"Comparing with Marc is not the goal," Espargaro said to Spanish media. "I think it is better compare ourselves with the best results Cal has done this year."

If that didn't raise eyebrows, then perhaps Espargaro's next target might - seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. Espargaro said it's possible for him to fight for positions with The Doctor next season.

"The aim is to finish in front of anyone," Espargaro said. "It is clear that Valentino is maybe a little bit off the pace, but the first and most logical targets will be Bradl, Bautista and my teammate, Smith. So far we have done only one test, but it is true that a race fight with Valentino is the dream of every rider and, of course, ours."


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