Pol Espargaro: Racing Marquez not 2014 target

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Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Pol Espargaro has said battling with former Moto2 adversary Marc Marquez in MotoGP this year is not a realistic ambition.

Espargaro was the only rider to consistently challenge Marquez in the 2012 Moto2 world championship and they will lock horns again in the premier class when the new season kicks off under the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on March 23.

Espargaro though says he is not anticipating giving Marquez too many tense moments in 2014.

Marquez is the reigning MotoGP world champion after a sensational first season on a factory Honda RC213V saw him claim a historic crown by just four points from Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo.

Espargaro meanwhile will come into MotoGP in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad, which means he will get a factory-backed YZR-M1, but not identical to the spec that will be raced by works duo Valentino Rossi and Lorenzo.

The Spaniard, who denied Scott Redding the 2013 Moto2 title, impressed on his YZR-M1 debut in Valencia back in November and his battle with new teammate Bradley Smith is anticipated to be one of the most intriguing of the season.

Espargaro, who won six Moto2 races in 2013, said: “My target is to be as close as possible to the first Yamaha. Firstly I have to be as fast as Bradley and after we will see what happens. But the reality is to be close to Bradley. I fought with Marc a lot in the past but Jorge is much better than me and he was not faster than Marc in some races last year. I am not with the experience of Jorge or have the same bike as him and it will be impossible to fight with them for the championship. If by some a miracle I am there in some races I will try my best, but that is not my target.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt