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Race report
MotoGP Catalan GP

MotoGP Catalan GP: Espargaro leads Aprilia 1-2, Bagnaia hospitalised after crash

Aleix Espargaro led an historic Aprilia 1-2 at the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix after the race was red-flagged for a crash which has hospitalised championship leader Francesco Bagnaia.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Bagnaia was involved in a horrific incident on the opening lap of the grand prix while leading, after he was flung from his Ducati exiting Turn 2.

The world championship leader then had his leg run over by KTM’s Brad Binder, who could do nothing to avoid him.

Seconds earlier, Bagnaia’s team-mate Enea Bastianini triggered a multi-rider incident at Turn 1 that took down Pramac’s Johann Zarco, Gresini duo Alex Marquez and Fabio Di Giannantonio, and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi.

The race was red-flagged as Bagnaia received medical attention, with the Italian later taken to hospital in Barcelona for further checks.

Bastianini has also gone to hospital, with the factory Ducati team absent from the 23-lap restarted grand prix.

Bagnaia is thought to have largely escaped any serious injuries, with the Italian undergoing scans to confirm he has not suffered any fractures to his leg.

Bastianini, meanwhile, is thought to have suffered fractures to his hand.

The race got back under way at just before 2:25pm local time, around 25 minutes after the original start, with Pramac’s Jorge Martin briefly upholding Ducati honour by jumping into the lead from fifth.

But this lasted all of three corners, as Maverick Vinales carved into the lead on his factory Aprilia, with team-mate Aleix Espargaro eventually moving into second on lap three.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

RNF Miguel Oliveira made it an Aprilia 1-2-3 on lap four when he moved through on Martin, though the factory duo had already started to build up a gap.

By lap nine, Vinales and Espargaro were two seconds up the road from Oliveira, who would soon come under attack from Martin.

The pair ran line astern, but on lap 11 the gap suddenly jumped up between them to 1.3s as Espargaro seemingly made an error somewhere off-screen.

Espargaro regrouped, though, and cut the gap down to 0.8s on lap 14 and 0.6s two tours later.

As they started lap 19, Espargaro was just 0.2s adrift and took the lead into Turn 1 next time around, drawing alongside his team-mate down the straight before outbraking him.

The Aprilia duo got close, with Vinales forced to run wide through Turns 1 and 2, which ultimately boosted Espargaro to a 1.1s lead come the end of the tour.

Both Aprilia riders battled severe front tyre graining and made numerous errors across the final few laps.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

But Espargaro – a year on from miscounting how many laps he had left in the 2022 Catalan GP – got his RS-GP to the chequered flag to complete the double in Barcelona, with Vinales completing Aprilia’s first ever double podium in MotoGP in second.

Espargaro went on to dedicate his win to Bagnaia, adding he was "very worried" after the crash.

Vinales later revealed he did not have a fresh rear tyre for the restart, which contributed to his drop in pace late on.

Espargaro eased off through last corners to lead Vinales by 0.377s, while Martin rounded out the podium 2.4s adrift. On the cooldown lap, both riders swapped bikes to ride back to pitlane.

With Bagnaia out and potentially facing a spell on the sidelines, Martin is now 50 points down on the factory Ducati rider in the championship.

Johann Zarco was fourth on the second Pramac bike after overtaking Oliveira late on, while Alex Marquez was able to take the restart and finish sixth.

Fabio Quartararo recovered from 18th to finish seventh on the factory Yamaha ahead of KTM’s Jack Miller, Tech3 rookie Augusto Fernandez and Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio.

The VR46 duo led each other across the line in 11th and 12th, with Luca Marini ahead of Bezzecchi, who was forced to race with the soft front tyre after his only medium was left unusable in the Turn 1 crash.

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Bezzecchi is now 71 points off the championship lead.

Marc Marquez opted for the soft rear tyre on his Honda and faded to 13th in the closing stages ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami.

Iker Lecuona was 16th on the sister LCR Honda, with Joan Mir the final finisher on the factory team Honda.

Technical problems forced Tech3’s Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder and RNF’s Raul Fernandez out early on.

MotoGP Catalan GP 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 23 -       25
2 Spain M. Viñales Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 23 +0.377 0.377     20
3 Spain J. Martin Jorge Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 23 +2.831 2.454     16
4 France J. Zarco Johann Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 23 +4.867 2.036     13
5 Portugal M. Oliveira Miguel Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 23 +7.529 2.662     11
6 Spain A. Marquez Alex Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 23 +10.590 3.061     10
7 France F. Quartararo Fabio Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 23 +10.821 0.231     9
8 Australia J. Miller Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 23 +10.880 0.059     8
9 Spain A. Fernandez Augusto Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 23 +12.889 2.009     7
10 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 23 +13.280 0.391     6
11 Italy L. Marini Luca Marini Team VR46 10 Ducati 23 +16.491 3.211     5
12 Italy M. Bezzecchi Marco Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 23 +16.561 0.070     4
13 Spain M. Marquez Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 23 +21.616 5.055     3
14 Italy F. Morbidelli Franco Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 23 +23.108 1.492     2
15 Japan T. Nakagami Takaaki Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 23 +26.740 3.632     1
16 Spain I. Lecuona Iker Lecuona Team LCR 27 Honda 23 +28.860 2.120      
17 Spain J. Mir Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 23 +33.929 5.069      
dnf Spain R. Fernández Raúl Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 10       Retirement  
dnf South Africa B. Binder Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 3       Retirement  
dnf Spain P. Espargaro Pol Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 1       Retirement  
dns Italy F. Bagnaia Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 0       Accident before restart  
dns Italy E. Bastianini Enea Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 0       Accident before restart  

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