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Covert power moves his team, & throws employer down the bus: Pol Espargaro example

I was reading an interview from Aprilia's motorcycle pilot right after the race.

I often had red flags about this guy and the way he talks.

Now, I've got little doubts left that I'd never hire or give this person a chance.

Let's look at the red flags in this interview:

Covert power move on technician

There was a mistake with Espargaro's bike.


Espargaro: The technician immediately came to apologize, I hugged him, but this oversight cost us dearly in the championship


Espargaro: It’s a big, big mistake and this cannot happen. But we are human. We are a team and we will try to win the title

He frames himself as very magnanimous with the hug and the "we're all humans and mistakes happen".

But at the same time he thread expands on that technician's mistake.

He makes very sure to isolate guilt to that single individual, who now must feel some big heat under his ass.

He further thread expands later, when he says he could have won and that "he's really sad":

Interviewer: If this problem had not arisen, what expectations did you have for this race?
Espargaro: “A win, 100% (...) So, it’s a shame.
“This is worse. For me this is worse, because I lost a big opportunity. If they finished first and second, it would have been worse for the championship
but I wouldn’t have been that sad. But I’m very sad because I knew today I was faster than them


Interesting, since little later he says he had the same pace as the winner. Since that was based on the practice session, it's all a big hypothetical.
It's far from "100% fighting for win".
Plus, this guy has only won one single motoGP race in his whole career (and it was with Aprilia).

The eagle way to handle this was to let out his anger and frustration in the team, instead of trying to be Mr. nice guy with the hug, then rebuild goodwill once he calmed down, and then put a united front in the press saying something like "I'm angry, we fucked up unluckily, but shit happens. Now onto the next one".

Throwing the employer under the bus

Later in the interview:

Espargaro: They often say that the Aprilia is a bomb, but it's neither the Ducati nor the Yamaha and after all I'm not Marc Marquez, and being where I am in the standings has really cost me a lot during this season

What a narcissistic fake-nice guy BS.

For fuck sake, Aprilia is giving him a job and a chance of winning the title as an underdog who's never been even close to the top.

Aprilia is in racing to sell bikes and develop a good brand image, and this cunt is throwing them under the bus explicitly saying they're not as good as the competition.

One could say Aprilia, a far smaller factory than all the rest, with a much smaller budget, is doing miracles.
Instead, all of Espargaro's effort is to sub-communicate that the bike is bad, and it's him who's doing miracles (not).

In all of that, he seeks once again to try to look humble by saying he's "not as good as Marquez".

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Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanKavalierBel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Very interesting case study. Thanks for sharing!



What a narcissistic fake-nice guy BS.


This reminded me of something that happened to me yesterday where I think I threw my employer under the bus.

Long story short, the psychiatrist for children at the emergency says to me (she spent 4 hours in the room and we're talking about the time it took, was necessary in my mind, way too long for the paediatric emergency department):

Her: people want to act (that means that they think, we do), so we are here to say slow down (open palms in front of her: "stop" hand gesture). When you called me for instance (I called her twice to know where they were, frames me as impatient and her as taking the time to do the right thing)."

Me: Well, it's not me (true I think we have to do what's necessary for the patient, even if it takes a long time), it's the emergency department: you have to free the consultation room, etc.

So I felt not at ease as I think I threw the ED under the bus. I have no excuse. I think the reason is I don't feel aligned with them because of the bunch of nasty nurses. So that is like my knee-jerk reaction. So I sided with the psychiatrists against my in-group (who are a bunch of assholes I must tolerate).

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Lucio Buffalmano

Now I see what I could have said to her while power-protecting the team and not following her frame: "Well, you understand we have to move forward there are other patients waiting. It's good you guys took this time for the patient and I'm grateful for it. The reason I called you is that there are other patients waiting". That would have been socially smarter.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Same guy this last race:

“I was fast. I did the second-fastest lap of the race. But in the last eight laps the bike didn't accelerate,” Espargaro explained.


“I was very, very angry, frustrated because I had the speed to fight for victory today.

Except it seems to be a common thing for him to put in some individual fast laps -in this case not even fastest, but second-, but failing to back it up with constant lap times in the race.
No other rider picked him as the favorite and and Bagnaia, another top guy clearly said Espargaro did not have the pace to compete for the win.
So this seems to be a case of "imaginary skills" that always see him compete for the win if only things didn't go south (for someone else's fault).

And still, you would think that if he had to pace to win, it means that at least the bike was good, no?
Well, no, he wants to have it both ways: speed to win, but bad bike.
He says:

“It's funny because not too long ago, 3-4 months ago, everybody was saying that the Aprilia was the ‘new Ferrari’. And I knew the bike that I have. It’s a good bike, we improved the bike a lot, but it's not at the level of the best bike on the grid at all.

It bothered him that people thought he had a good bike.
Nope, he wanted to be the Cinderella story, to demean the bike so he could look like the super champ who makes miracles with it.

Then talking about the competition:

“They [Ducati] made many mistakes in the beginning of the year and they paid for it, but today the result of the Ducatis - I don't want to use any names, but it's ridiculous. Doesn't matter who rides this bike, they are in the top six.”

When it comes to the competition, no credit to the riders, it's all because the bike is good.
Notice the power moves, he "doesn't want to use names", but "it's ridiculous".

Also notice that he could have put that in the positive.
He could have said "Ducati did a fantastic job with their bike", instead it seems like he can only talk in the negative. Credit taking, never giving.

Talking about the opposite of a "brand ambassador", this is a "brand underminer".

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Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?