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MotoGP Spanish GP

Morbidelli: Nakagami “deserves nice present” for not hitting me in Jerez MotoGP crash

Franco Morbidelli says Takaaki Nakagami “deserves a nice present” for not hitting him as he lay on the ground after a first-lap crash in the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix sprint.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Yamaha rider made contact with Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez at Turn 2 on the first lap of the sprint race on Saturday.

The contact resulted in both crashing, with VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi also caught up in it as he struck Morbidelli’s errant Yamaha.

The sprint was red-flagged after this and all riders were able to restart, while the FIM stewards investigated the incident after the race and deemed Morbidelli had caused an avoidable incident and handed him a long lap penalty “for his next grand prix race”.

Morbidelli came close to being struck by oncoming riders behind and praised LCR Honda’s Nakagami’s “reflexes” for sparing the Italian from a nastier incident.

“We were involved in the crash in Turn 2,” Morbidelli began.

“I’m very happy that nothing serious happened because I remained in the middle of the track. Actually I want to thank Taka especially for his reflexes in avoiding me.

“I think he deserves a nice present. Now I will sort out a nice present to give him, because he did the maximum to avoid me and he just [barely] hit me, but it could have been much worse.”

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing crash

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Morbidelli defended himself by claiming he was not trying to overtake Marquez and feels the Gresini rider “was cutting the line” on him, which led to the collision.

“I didn’t try to overtake him,” Morbidelli added.

“I was doing my corner. This was totally a sprint race crash because many overtakes [happened] in the early stages, he got overtaken by Fabio [Quartararo] and he went a bit wide.

“I saw a gap, I went to do my corner nice and tight. I didn’t want to overtake him.

“I tried to do the corner nice and tight. For me, the guy was cutting the line.

“He didn’t see me, he left no space, I don’t know. But the result is he cut the line, we touched and we crashed. I didn’t want to overtake anybody, I just wanted to do my corner.”

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Marquez was surprised that Morbidelli was on his inside at that corner as “there was no space”.

“I spoke with Fabio, he was a little bit crazy in the first lap, also in the second race,” he said.

“So, I mean I didn’t expect that [Morbidelli contact]. I was on the inside line, there was no space, and I heard a bike and I said ‘where is it coming from?’

“Then I felt the contact, it was quite big but we were really lucky nobody hit us.”

Marquez would crash again in the restarted sprint, while Morbidelli finished 16th. Bezzecchi ended up ninth to hold a slender three-point championship lead.

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