‘Speechless’ Espargaro Dedicates Aprilia MotoGP 1-2 First Race to Bagnaia

Bagnaia was involved in a horrific crash on the opening lap of the Grand Prix while leading, after falling off his Ducati exiting Turn 2.

Then the World Championship leader was run over in the leg by KTM’s Brad Bender, who could do nothing to avoid it.

Bagnaia, along with teammate Inna Bastianini, who was involved in a collision at Turn 1, were taken to the medical centre, before being taken to hospital.

Bagnaia is believed to have largely escaped any serious injuries, as the Italian underwent checks to ensure he did not suffer any fractures to his leg.

Meanwhile, Bastianini is believed to have fractured his hand.

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Espargaro stayed on to effectively start from pole position in the 23-lap Grand Prix, which he won from Aprilia teammate Maverick Vinales to lead the mark for the first time ever with a 1-2 finish.

The Spaniard, who also won Saturday’s sprint, credited his victory to Bagnaia and also explained that the wind caused him several problems with his driving style – forcing him to make several mistakes, one of which saw him fall 1.3 seconds behind Vinales at one point.

“I am speechless,” Espargaro said in the Montazah garden. “The first thing I want to say is that I’m glad, really, really glad that it’s nothing [serious] Today happened on the first start.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Geese / Motorsport Pictures

“Luckily Beko isn’t really dangerous, they tell me now. So, this win for Beko because I was right behind, and I was really worried.

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“After that I tried to reset my mind and for our riding style this win was very difficult because I let the bike flow in the middle and the wind pushed me out.

“Maverick is much stronger at stopping the bike and going. It was hard for me to follow, I made a mistake trying to overtake and then I lost a lot of ground.

“For a moment I thought I wouldn’t catch him, he was so fast. But I changed [engine] The map and I reached the limit, like qualifying, for 25 minutes and I’m very happy.

The win marks Espargaro’s second Grand Prix win of the 2023 season after he beat Bagnaia in a last-lap thriller at Silverstone, and the third of his entire career.

It also comes a year after he made a mistake on the last lap at the 2022 Catalunya Grand Prix, missing out on the podium because he miscalculated the number of laps he had left.

Espargaro wore a special helmet design this weekend, with the words “One more lap”, in honor of his mistake in 2022.

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