MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro And Aprilia Secure Dream 1-2 In Spain After Chaotic Crashes Leaves Ducati Duo Injured
By Yashraj Singh
3 mins read
Published on September 4, 2023
- Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia's race took a horrifying turn on the opening lap as he was violently thrown from his Ducati, and his leg was run over by KTM's Brad Binder in a dreadful accident.
- In the same lap, Bagnaia's teammate Enea Bastianini triggered a multi-rider incident at Turn 1.
- Due to the severe crashes, the factory Ducati team withdrew from the race, and both Bagnaia and Bastianini were hospitalized.
- Espargaro's Triumph: Despite challenging tire conditions and errors in the final laps, Aleix Espargaro secured victory for Aprilia.
After two huge incidents at the start of the race, which left world champion Bagnaia in the hospital and four others in the gravel, it was the Aprilia of Espargaro and Vinales to complete an all-Spanish podium in Spain alongside Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin.
Bagnaia's race took a horrifying turn on the opening lap, with a violent crash ejecting him from his Ducati as he led the pack. His fate worsened as KTM's Brad Binder, unable to avoid the stricken rider, ran over Bagnaia's leg in a dreadful accident. Earlier in the same lap, Bagnaia's teammate Enea Bastianini triggered a multi-rider incident at Turn 1, ensnaring Pramac's Johann Zarco, Gresini's Alex Marquez, and Fabio Di Giannantonio, as well as VR46's Marco Bezzecchi.
The race was immediately red-flagged to attend to Bagnaia's injuries, and he was subsequently transported to a Barcelona hospital for further evaluation. Bastianini was also taken to the hospital with suspected hand fractures, and the factory Ducati team withdrew from the race. Bagnaia's condition appears to be relatively stable, with scans showing no signs of leg fractures. However, Bastianini's injuries were confirmed by the team to be fractures in his hand and foot.
After a delay of approximately 25 minutes, the restarted race commenced at 2:25 pm local time. Pramac's Jorge Martin briefly propelled Ducati into the lead, but his advantage was short-lived as Maverick Vinales surged ahead on his factory Aprilia. Espargaro followed suit, moving into second place on the third lap. RNF Miguel Oliveira secured an Aprilia 1-2-3 on the fourth lap when he overtook Martin, with Vinales and Espargaro building a substantial lead.
By the ninth lap, Vinales and Espargaro had pulled a two-second gap on Oliveira, who soon faced pressure from Martin. Their close battle, however, encountered a setback on the 11th lap, as the gap between them abruptly expanded to 1.3 seconds, seemingly due to an off-screen mistake by Espargaro.
Yet, Espargaro regrouped, narrowing the gap to 0.8 seconds on the 14th lap and 0.6 seconds two laps later. On the 19th lap, he trailed by a mere 0.2 seconds, seizing the lead into Turn 1 on the next lap, outbraking his teammate down the straight.
Although both Aprilia riders struggled with severe front tire graining and made errors in the final laps, Espargaro managed to maintain his lead and secure the victory. This marked a significant milestone for the 34-year-old Spaniard, especially considering his miscount of laps in the 2022 Catalan GP.
Vinales, who revealed he lacked a fresh rear tire for the restart, finished 0.377 seconds behind Espargaro. Martin claimed the final spot on the podium, 2.4 seconds adrift. With Bagnaia sidelined and facing an uncertain recovery period, Martin now trails the factory Ducati rider by 50 points in the championship. Johann Zarco secured fourth place on the second Pramac bike after passing Oliveira late in the race. Alex Marquez successfully resumed the race to finish sixth. Fabio Quartararo executed an impressive recovery from 18th to secure seventh place on the factory Yamaha, ahead of KTM's Jack Miller, Tech3 rookie Augusto Fernandez, and Gresini's Fabio Di Giannantonio.
VR46's Luca Marini and Bezzecchi crossed the line in 11th and 12th positions, with Bezzecchi contending with a soft front tire due to the Turn 1 crash. Bezzecchi now faces a 71-point deficit in the championship race. Marc Marquez, who opted for a soft rear tire on his Honda, faded to 13th in the closing stages, finishing ahead of Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli and LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami. Iker Lecuona secured 16th place on the sister LCR Honda, while Joan Mir claimed the final finishing position for the factory team Honda.
Technical difficulties forced Tech3's Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder, and RNF's Raul Fernandez to retire from the race early on, adding to the day's dramatic events.
Last Updated on September 4, 2023
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