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Race report
MotoGP Catalan GP

MotoGP Catalan GP: Espargaro defeats Bagnaia in sprint race

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro dominated the 12-lap MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix sprint race after overhauling poleman Francesco Bagnaia.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

A year on from losing a podium on home soil for miscounting how many laps he had remaining, Espargaro made up for this by beating world champion Bagnaia by just under two seconds.

Strong all weekend at Barcelona, Espargaro ran fourth on the opening lap having dropped from second on the grid but would take the lead on lap seven.

Easing away from Bagnaia, Espargaro came under no trouble as he took the chequered flag for his second win of the 2023 MotoGP season.

Bagnaia fended off the sister factory Aprilia of Maverick Vinales over the remaining laps to secure runner-up spot by just 0.051s.

Just as he did in Austria, Bagnaia converted pole to the holeshot as Vinales proved his start woes had been fixed by rocketing into second.

Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin slotted into third ahead of Espargaro, but by the start of lap two the latter have moved up to second.

Bagnaia pushed early on and built a lead of 0.5s come the end of the second tour, but Espargaro quickly closed him down.

Close to several attempts into Turn 1 over the next few laps, Espargaro’s decisive move came on lap seven.

Utilising the turning capabilities of the RS-GP to launch onto the main straight, he was able to draw alongside Bagnaia and outbrake him into Turn 1.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Miquel Liso

Espargaro would take the chequered flag 1.9s up the road from Bagnaia, who quickly dropped off the rear of the Aprilia rider.

Vinales completed the podium behind Bagnaia, with Brad Binder just out of touch in fourth on his KTM.

Martin dropped back to his starting spot of fifth ahead of RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira, with Johann Zarco seventh on the sister Pramac bike.

Marco Bezzecchi was eighth on his VR46 Ducati, with the factory Ducati of Enea Bastianini taking the final point in ninth.

Alex Marquez missed out on points in 10th on his Gresini Ducati, as Honda-mounted brother Marc Marquez was 11th after running wide late on while ahead.

Fabio Quartararo’s difficult day continued as the Yamaha rider struggled to 18th as team-mate Franco Morbidelli took 15th from KTM’s Jack Miller.

Tech3’s Pol Espargaro was the only crasher as he took a tumble at Turn 5 when he ran wide onto the gravel on lap four.

Despite losing out to Aleix Espargaro, Bagnaia’s championship lead has extended to 66 points.

MotoGP Catalan GP - Sprint race results:

Driver Info
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 Spain A. Espargaro Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 12 -       12
2 Italy F. Bagnaia Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 12 +1.989 1.989     9
3 Spain M. Viñales Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 12 +2.040 0.051     7
4 South Africa B. Binder Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 12 +2.857 0.817     6
5 Spain J. Martin Jorge Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 12 +4.341 1.484     5
6 Portugal M. Oliveira Miguel Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 12 +4.940 0.599     4
7 France J. Zarco Johann Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 12 +6.746 1.806     3
8 Italy M. Bezzecchi Marco Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 12 +6.888 0.142     2
9 Italy E. Bastianini Enea Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 12 +8.068 1.180     1
10 Spain A. Marquez Alex Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 12 +10.380 2.312      
11 Spain M. Marquez Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 12 +11.823 1.443      
12 Italy L. Marini Luca Marini Team VR46 10 Ducati 12 +11.900 0.077      
13 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 12 +12.018 0.118      
14 Spain R. Fernández Raúl Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 12 +13.284 1.266      
15 Italy F. Morbidelli Franco Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 12 +16.207 2.923      
16 Australia J. Miller Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 12 +16.404 0.197      
17 Spain A. Fernandez Augusto Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 12 +16.534 0.130      
18 France F. Quartararo Fabio Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 12 +17.147 0.613      
19 Spain I. Lecuona Iker Lecuona Team LCR 27 Honda 12 +18.658 1.511      
20 Japan T. Nakagami Takaaki Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 12 +19.080 0.422      
21 Spain J. Mir Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 12 +19.574 0.494      
dnf Spain P. Espargaro Pol Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 3       Retirement  

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