News 4 Sep 2023

Aprilia 1-2 led by Espargaro in chaotic Catalan GP

Bagnaia crashes out as Dixon and Alonso win in Moto2, Moto3.

Image: Supplied.

It was a perfect points haul for Aleix Espargaro at the Catalunya MotoGP round, winning the sprint before leading a historic Aprilia Racing 1-2 on Sunday, as championship leader Francesco Bagnaia suffered a scary crash out of the race. Meanwhile, in Moto2, Jake Dixon held on for victory as David Alonso stood tall following an intense Moto3 battle.

There was drama aplenty at the start of Sunday’s MotoGP race, with two major incidents in the first two corners of the race seeing the red flags brought out.

First was a multi-rider turn-one crash involving Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing), Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing) and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team). Each rider was able to remount and contest the restart, apart from Bastianini who suffered a fracture to his left hand and left ankle, undergoing surgery on both in the coming days.

Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) then fell in a separate incident at turn two, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder not in a position to be able to avoid the Italian and ultimately running over his leg. Bagnaia received immediate medical attention and further examination at the general hospital revealed he sustained multiple contusions, but no fractures.

Upon the restart, Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing Team) swiftly made his move to the lead in front of Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), with Espargaro in third.

Espargaro made his way past Martin on lap three as Vinales stretched out his advantage at the front throughout the middle part of the race. As the encounter wore on, Vinales was visibly struggling with front-end grip as Espargaro closed back in and made a decisive move for victory with four laps to go into turn one.

His margin on victory was ultimately just 0.377s ahead of his teammate, Vinales, as Martin – who dropped to fourth behind Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) throughout the race – was able to regain the podium position and ride on to a relatively lonely P3.

Prima Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco ultimately finished fourth, with Oliveira suffering for pace more than his rivals in the second half of the race on his way to P5.

Alex Marquez crossed the line in sixth, ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo, Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Augusto Fernandez (GasGas Factory Racing Tech3) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing).

In terms of key championship contenders, Bezzecchi finished P12 while Brad Binder – who was forced to use the hard option front in the restart – was forced out with a technical issue.

Bagnaia still holds a healthy lead of 50 points in the 2023 MotoGP World Championship, with Martin in second ahead of Bezzecchi in third who is a further 21 points back.

Image: Supplied.

In an exciting Moto2 outing, Dixon (GasGas Aspar Team) held off Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) to bank his second intermediate class victory of the season.

The gap between the pair was just 0.205s across the line, as Albert Arenas (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top three ahead of Sergio Garcia (Pons Wegow Los40) and Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Team).

Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was P6 after hunting down the leaders but then suffering for grip, as title-rival Tony Arbolino completed the race in P17. Meanwhile, Australia’s Senna Agius (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) unfortunately suffered a DNF.

Image: Supplied.

The Moto3 race at Catalunya was another hard-fought encounter, with a multi-rider fight right down to the wire for victory ultimately seeing Alonso emerge on top.

The talented GasGas Aspar Team rider led Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) across the line by 0.076s, with Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) given a six-second penalty for bringing down David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) at the last corner.

Oncu initially finished third, but ultimately was demoted to P12 as Jose Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) then inherited P3 ahead of Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team).

After starting on the front row of the grid, a challenging outing for Australia’s Joel Kelso saw him complete the bout in P18, as championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed out on the last lap, later remounting to finish P22.

Detailed results