Pol Espargaro is reportedly set to be announced as Honda’s second MotoGP rider for 2021, joining reigning world champion Marc Marquez at the all-conquering HRC outfit.
Several sources have cited the news with the move meaning Marc’s younger brother Alex will be axed from the team he has yet to make a start for.
Last season’s Moto2 champion was a late signing to the squad, compelled to execute an escape clause from his 2020 Moto2 contract following the unforeseen resignation of Jorge Loenzo.
When quizzed on the rumour, Honda works team boss Alberto Puig refrained from denying the news, rather only bringing to light the already announced news that the elder Marquez brother has been retained until at least 2025.
“HRC is always thinking about the present and the future of its structure, from the lower categories to MotoGP,” said Puig.
“Due to the circumstances that we are in, this season is not developing through the usual channels, but that does not mean that Honda stops continuing to plan the best possible future for all their riders. We do not have any contracts signed with anyone that have not already been announced.”
Should Espargaro get the call up to the senior Honda squad it could leave a bitter taste in the mouth of series stalwart Cal Crutchlow.
The Briton has been a leading rider in the Honda satellite LCR team since 2015 and will undoubtedly be vexed to see a pitlane rival steal the seat he has eyed for near-on five seasons.
With the factory Aprilia and KTM outfits yet to firm up their rider line-ups beyond 2020, Crutchlow’s vast experience could ultimately attract the interest of the senior teams.