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Espargaro’s Frustration Over Penalties After Rough Rides with Morbidelli and Bastianini at French MotoGP



Aleix Espargaro raises concerns over penalties following a heated exchange with Franco Morbidelli

Aleix Espargaro experienced some aggressive maneuvers during Sunday's French MotoGP race.

At Le Mans, two action-packed races unfolded where Aleix Espargaro had to overcome a significant setback of a double long lap penalty due to a false start in the Sprint, managing to secure fifth place. However, his performance in the grand prix was hindered by two separate mishaps, impacting his results negatively.

Enea Bastianini executed a tight maneuver that made Espargaro miss the chicane at Turn 9, a move which also enabled Fabio Quartararo to pass him, dropping him to the eighth position.

However, Bastianini had taken a shortcut on the corner and received a Long Lap penalty for not slowing down by a minimum of one second (though it was not due to his overtaking maneuver on Espargaro).

Espargaro was elevated to seventh position due to Bastianini's penalty and stayed there even after Quartararo's crash and Bastianini overtaking him again. Nonetheless, on the last lap, Espargaro dropped to ninth after being overtaken by Morbidelli.

"Massimo Rivola, the CEO of Aprilia, expressed regret over Aleix's performance, noting that although he began well, several confrontations on the track led to him losing his momentum."

Initially, Bastianini made a bold maneuver, followed by Morbidelli's actions towards the race's conclusion, which resulted in a loss of two spots for him.

"Finding your rhythm can be challenging when such events take place."

Tensions flared up between Aleix Espargaró and Franco Morbidelli following their final lap showdown 🌶️ ⚔️ #MotoGP | #FrenchGP

Subsequently, Espargaro raised concerns about the apparent lack of penalties when a rider has to take immediate action to dodge a collision.

“Enea required me to lift the bike quickly, it was swift. However, with Franco as well, had I not lifted the bike, I would have fallen,” Espargaro mentioned.

"The sentiment is that there's a penalty imposed if you crash."

"However, it's the behavior, not the result, that must be assessed and sanctioned. Had I maintained my position, both of us would have ended up in a significant [crash]."

"I didn't quite get it, but that's alright."

The data on lap speeds indicates that Espargaro, initially in third position, experienced a delay of approximately 3 seconds due to the incidents.

After deducting that from his finishing time of +11.3 seconds, he would have likely landed in sixth position, just after his teammate Maverick Vinales.

"Honestly, I thought I would be quicker, but I just couldn't find enough traction," he explained. "Given the cooler conditions, I was anticipating improved grip, yet I felt significantly better on Saturday."

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