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MotoGP Thailand GP

Espargaro “couldn’t avoid” Binder clash that led to Thailand MotoGP penalty

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro says he “couldn’t avoid” the collision with Brad Binder which netted him a long lap penalty in Sunday’s MotoGP Thailand Grand Prix.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Spaniard was battling with KTM’s Binder on the second lap of the delayed Thailand race when the pair made contact at Turn 3.

Espargaro claims both were alongside each other under braking for the corner and Binder tried to hand on around the outside, with the Aprilia rider clattering into him and forcing him off track.

He was given a long lap penalty for the incident, which he served on lap 10 before going on to finish 11th, but felt there was nothing he could do to avoid clashing with Binder.

“If you see the images just on the corner, yes, I was really on the limit,” Espargaro said of the clash.

“But on the straight I was parallel to him, we braked together and he released the brakes from outside.

“It’s the typical contact. He released the brakes, I couldn’t avoid the contact and we touched each other.

“But the thing is that for me with the visibility in the wet, you start to do this with how difficult it is to overtake, I don’t know.

“[Franco] Morbidelli hit me twice on the last lap, I think he’s looking for a contract next year and he hit me twice.

“It was incredible, I didn’t understand really and he didn’t get a long lap penalty, which is ok – this is racing.”

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Espargaro did recover points on championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who struggled to 17th in Thailand, and is now just 20 behind the Yamaha rider with three rounds remaining.

After two difficult races, Espargaro says he is now “very motivated” given the fact he remains close in the rankings.

“This is the second-best thing today.,” Espargaro said when asked how he felt about closing his points gap to Quartararo.

“This first one is I go back home to my family, and the second one is I recovered points to Fabio.

“I am very motivated because we had very bad luck in these two tracks and even like this we are 20 points [behind].

“Now we go to Australia and Malaysia, very strong circuits for us. With today’s rain and what happened today, I think it’s a signal. I think we’ll have some fun.”

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Sunday’s Thailand race was delayed by almost an hour due to heavy rain, with Espargaro seen on the grid ahead of the start in animated discussion with riders and Dorna officials.

He says he was left “angry” with other riders after this as he felt some of them were not conveying what they had said to him back to Dorna.

“I was angry with the other riders. I said to Loris [Capirossi, FIM safety officer], ‘the track is perfect, we can race very good but please clean [Turns] three to four because there is a lot of rivers crossing the track’.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to race, and I said to the riders ‘what do you think?’, and Fabio [Quartararo] says to me ‘yeah, there’s no visibility’. I said ‘ok, go and tell them. You cannot sit on the bike and then if there is a crash blame everybody’.

“There is a safety commission on the grid and race direction on the grid, and it’s good we can give information to them to improve the track.”

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