After a devastating weekend in Qatar with zero points, a leg injury and numerous problems, Aleíx Espargaró’s anger towards Franco Morbidelli is not over yet.
In fact, it’s time for Aleíx Espargaró to lick his wounds, turn the page and see what happened at the Qatar Grand Prix. The fact that the Spanish public’s favorite suffered a torn left fibula as a result of a collision caused by Miguel Oliveira in the sprint race, had to give up the main race on Sunday and instead of the long-awaited podium flew home without a point place, is bad enough.
«I always try to do my best. On Sunday morning I did three laps and I thought I was going to die from the pain. I asked Charte’s race doctor for everything he could give me, and I actually didn’t feel any pain during the race,” Espargaró said. “But the injury meant all the nerves were massively inflamed, the tissue was full of blood and I had no feeling in my leg. I had no strength, I couldn’t go up or down. That’s why I had to stop.”
In addition to the leg injury, which will certainly hamper him in the season finale in Valencia, and perhaps even prevent him from playing, Espargaró is also struggling with Franco Morbidelli.
In the second practice session on Saturday afternoon, there was a scene between them that made Espargaró look quite bad: after Morbidelli backed off on the gas due to yellow flags and impeded Espargaró, Espargaró moved in line with the Italian factory Yamaha and delivered a blow to Morbidelli’s helmet, in which he later claimed that he had not intended to hit Morbidelli, but merely to push him away.
“In my opinion it is unfair that the referees only judged the last five seconds of the incident. Morbidelli has no respect for anyone. In Sepang he even upset his teammate. He received no punishment. He also treated Marc Márquez like a dog when he got stuck in a slipstream in Q1 in Malaysia. On Saturday, he interrupted me three times in Doha when I was going out onto the track. He prevented me from entering the track. But of course I reacted badly, I’m sorry…”
The helmet-hitting scene not only earned Aleix a six-place grid penalty and a €10,000 fine, but also made headlines, with Espargaró making another poor showing. Overall tenor: Considering his experience, the 34-year-old Spaniard should have controlled himself better than to explode like that. A view with which Morbidelli also gratefully agreed. “I would like to know what he tells his children about this incident,” Espargaró verbally attacked.
Hearing this, Aleix Espargaró exploded again. «If you only see the last part of this episode, I deserve to be punished. I also realize that I am now exposed to a wave of hatred,” explained the Aprilia factory pilot. “At the same time, it’s all a bit unfair because Franco was hanging around the track for a year and a half and disturbing others in every race. This is his behavior or work ethic. I almost fell twice because of him, and when I wanted to get back on the track he got in my way again. And then I lost control of myself. Yes, I reacted badly. I apologize to my team and my family, but I think it’s unfair to only look at the last part of this story. What really pisses me off is that he mentioned my family and my children in his statements. He crossed a very sacred boundary for me! This chapter is not finished yet. IM really angry.”
The fact that his friend Jorge Martín had also experienced bitter disappointment in Qatar was of little consolation to Aleix. “After completing the task, I followed the race on the monitor in the pits. Jorge’s bike had zero acceleration, you could see it with the naked eye, without looking at lap times. He was helpless when accelerating onto the straight because the traction control had cut off a lot of the engine’s power, which in turn had to do with the failing rear tire,” Espargaró explained. “I feel sorry for Jorge that he lost so many points because it clearly wasn’t his fault. However, he should be proud of what he has achieved this season, scoring over 400 points in the championship. Besides, he still has a chance for the title: in our heads we automatically think that there are still 25 points to be scored, but during the sprint in Valencia there are still 37. It’s not over yet!
MotoGP Doha race results (19/11):
1. Di Giannantonio, Ducati, 22 rounds in 41:43.654 min
2. Bagnaia, Ducati, +2.734 sec
3. Marini, Ducati, + 4408
4. Viñales, Aprilia, + 4488
5. Binder, KTM, +7246
6. Alex Márquez, Ducati, + 7620
7. Quartararo, Yamaha, +7828
8. Bastianini, Ducati, + 8239
9. Miller, KTM, +11509
10. Martin, Ducati, + 14819
11. Marc Marquez, Honda, +14 964
12. Zarco, Ducati, + 17 431
13. Bezzecchi, Ducati, + 17 807
14. Mir, Honda, +18 673
15. Augusto Fernández, KTM, +21 455
16. Morbidelli, Yamaha, + 21 474
17. Raúl Fernández, Aprilia, +22142
18. Pol Espargaró, KTM, +27,194
19. Nakagami, Honda, +27740
– Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, 16 laps back
– Lecuona, Honda, lap 1 not completed
MotoGP Sprint Doha results (18/11):
1. Martin, Ducati, 11 rounds in 20:52.634 minutes
2. Di Giannantonio, Ducati, +0.391 sec
3. Marini, Ducati, +2875
4. Alex Márquez, Ducati, + 3370
5. Bagnaia, Ducati, +3957
6. Viñales, Aprilia, +4239
7. Binder, KTM, +5761
8. Quartararo, Yamaha, +6454
9. Augusto Fernández, KTM, +8285
10. Zarco, Ducati, +8314
11. Marc Marquez, Honda, +9596
12. Miller, KTM, +10173
13. Bezzecchi, Ducati, + 10646
14. Raúl Fernández, Aprilia, + 11117
15. Morbidelli, Yamaha, + 12163
16. Pol Espargaró, KTM, + 12745
17. Lecuona, Honda, + 19285
18. Nakagami, Honda, +26 238
19. Mir, Honda, +28 446
20. Bastianini, Ducati, +35553
– Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, 10 laps back
– Oliveira, Aprilia, 1st round incomplete
MotoGP World Championship standings after 37 of 39 races:
1. Bagnaia, 437 points. 2. Martin 416. 3. Bezzecchi 326. 4. Binder 268. 5. Zarco 204. 6. Aleix Espargaró 198. 7. Marini 194. 8. Viñales 192. 9. Quartararo 167. Alex Márquez 165. 11. Miller 163. 12. Di Giannantonio 134. 13. Morbidelli 93. 14. Marc Márquez 89. 15. Bastianini 84. 16. Oliveira 76. 17. Augusto Fernández 71. 18. Rins 54. 19. Nakagami 52. 20. Raúl Fernández 40. 21 Pedrosa 32. 22. Mir 26. 23. Pol Espargaró 13. 24. Savadori 9. 25. Folger 9. 26. Bradl 8. 27. Pirro 5. 28. Petrucci 5. 29. Crutchlow 3.
Constructors’ World Championship:
1. Ducati, 663 points (world champion). 2. KTM 348. 3. Aprilia 309. 4. Yamaha 187. 5. Honda 174.
Team World Cup:
1. Prima Pramac Racing, 620 points (world champion). 2. Ducati Lenovo Team 531. 3. Mooney VR46 Racing 520. 4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 431. 5. Aprilia Racing 390. 6. Gresini Racing 299. 7. Monster Energy Yamaha 260. 8. CryptoDATA RNF 120. 9. Repsol Honda 115. 10. LCR Honda 112. 11. GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3, 93.