The 2013 Moto2 world champion switched from KTM to the factory Honda squad last season, ending a largely difficult campaign with one podium and pole position to his credit.
Despite missing four races through injury and crashing out of four others, Marquez won three times and was comfortably top Honda rider in seventh in the standings – 42 points clear of Espargaro.
The 2021 season was difficult for all Honda riders, as a lack of grip from the RC213V caused problems for much of the year.
Observing the six-time MotoGP world champion directly in 2021, Espargaro says he has been able to see where Marquez is really gaining on the rest – highlighting his speed under low grip circumstances.
“I had always competed with Marc, but being on equal terms, in the same team, has given me a more realistic perspective than I could have had before,” Espargaro told Autosport’s Spanish language sister website Motorsport.es.
“There are circumstances in which I was surprised by how fast he can be, and others in which I expected him to be faster.
“For example, in very hot conditions, with little grip, I thought Marc needed to lean a lot on the rear, like me, to go fast.
“And I realised that it was the opposite; he needs very little grip to go fast, and that’s very difficult.
“He is a real technician, and now I understand why he trains the way he does, and why he does what he does.
“Being his team-mate makes me understand a bit better the techniques he uses to go so fast.”
Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Espargaro will remain with Honda for the 2022 season, with HRC seemingly making big steps forward with its RC213V at the post-season Jerez test – with Espargaro claiming the rear grip he’d been missing in 2021 had been found.
Marquez faces an uncertain winter having missed the final two rounds when a concussion he suffered in a training incident led to a return of the vision issues he endured following a crash in a 2011 Moto2 crash in Malaysia.
He has been in training in recent weeks, but will not be present at Honda’s 2022 season presentation on Friday.