MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro Takes Victory at Home in Catalunya

Published on September 3, 2023
By Jack Hammersley

Aleix Espargaro wins his second Grand Prix of the season ahead of Vinales for Aprilia’s first one-two

The weather was cool for the Catalan Grand Prix with a tail wind down the main straight. Francesco Bagnaia started from pole position and looked to try and go one better from his Sprint Race finish. Aleix Espargaro started from second place and was the pre-race favourite with Miguel Oliveira rounding out the front row in third.

The lights went out and it was Pecco Bagnaia who took the holeshot into turn one, Enea Bastianini made a great start but out-braked himself and hit the back of Johann Zarco and they were both down and they took down Marco Bezzecchi, Alex Marquez and Fabio Di Giannantonio with them. Pecco highsided out of turn two and his legs were runover by Brad Binder and Binder proceeded to go down at turn three. The race was red flagged straight away.

Both Factory Ducati riders were the only riders to not make the restart with both riders taken to the medical center.

The race distance was reduced to 23 laps with Aleix Espargaro taking pole position. The lights went out and it was Jorge Martin who took the holeshot into turn one ahead of both Aprilias with Maverick Vinales taking the lead into turn four.

Jack Miller had a great start from 11th on the grid moving into sixth place. He was running behind Zarco who had also had a good start, if the Frenchman could not lose too much time to the front four in the early laps he could be dangerous in the later laps.

Espargaro moved into second place at turn ten, a perfect block pass on Martin with Oliveira looking to make it an all Aprilia podium. The Portuguese rider made the move for the podium at turn four.

Brad Binder who had passed his teammate for sixth place retired from the race on lap four suffering a mechanical failure.

Alex Marquez overtook Miller for sixth place at turn ten and had to hold the Australian off at turn 11 and 12. Martin on lap ten repassed Oliveira to move back into third place.

With eight laps to go Espargaro who made a mistake halfway through the race was closing the gap to Vinales around one or two tenths a lap.

With five laps to go Espargaro was on the back of Vinales with the number 12’s lap times dropping considerably compared to Aleix.

Zarco overtook Oliveira into turn ten but ran wide, but then Oliveira ran wide at turn 12 and the Frenchman was up into fourth place.

On lap 20 Espargaro lined-up Vinales and block passed Vinales into turn one and Maverick ran off the track and had to cut the chicane.

On the last lap Espargaro had a 1.2 second lead over Vinales in second, Aleix was making a few mistakes and Maverick was closing in. Espargaro crossed the line take a first victory at home and his first double. Vinales finished second to take the first MotoGP Aprilia one-two. Martin finished third to make it an all Spanish podium.

Featured Image: Aprilia.


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