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In a race that will undoubtedly change the complexion of the championship, Francesco Bagnaia suffered a serious crash and Aleix Espargaro won the Catalan Grand Prix
MotoGP Barcelona 2023: A horrible start
From pole position, Francesco Bagnaia had a great start and maintained the lead. Jorge Martin climbed up to second, ahead of Maverick Vinales and Brad Binder. Further back, Enea Bastianini touched Johann Zarco and there was a chain reaction, with Marco Bezzecchi, Alex Marquez and Fabio di Giannantonio coming down with them.
On the exit of the second corner, Bagnaia went on power too soon and had a big highside. Landing on the middle of the track, the championship leader could do nothing and his leg was run over by Brad Binder who was also in a very tough spot. The possibility of an injury is very high and we wish the best for the Italian.
MotoGP Barcelona 2023: The battle for the win
Twenty minutes later, the race restarted with most riders on the grid, as the factory Ducatis of Bagnaia and Bastianini was the only absentees. Jorge Martin made another good start and took the lead on the run to the first corner. Maverick Vinales was straight on the attack though and he overtook Martin to claim the lead at Turn 4. Aleix Espargaro was third, followed by Miguel Oliveira.
The top four broke away from Johann Zarco, Brad Binder and Jack Miller and the battle was on. The first move was made by Espargaro, who passed Martin on the third lap. Just one lap later, Oliveira also passed the Pramac rider and made it an Aprilia 1-2-3.
The race stagnated for a few laps, until Martin regained third place from Oliveira on the eighth lap. At that point the factory Aprilia riders had pulled away, with Vinales a second ahead of Espargaro, but the gap started to shrink with ten laps to go.
With six laps remaining, Espargaro was on his teammate’s tail. Two laps later, he made his move, but the pair had contact and Vinales went off the track, rejoining in second. He quickly pulled away, opening a gap of a second and a half within the next two laps and he cruised to the finish.
THE DEMONS ARE BANISHED! 🛑
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 3, 2023
MotoGP Barcelona 2023: The results
One day after winning the Sprint, Aleix Espargaro triumphed on home soil again, as the Catalan came out on top once again. Maverick Vinales completed a historic triumph for the Italian manufacturer, which achieved the first 1-2 of its history.
The podium was completed by Jorge Martin, who now sits fifty points behind Bagnaia in the standings. Johann Zarco was involved in the initial first corner accident, but a good race after the restart to finish fourth. Miguel Oliveira was ultimately unable to challenge for the podium and settled for fifth.
Alex Marquez was sixth, while Fabio Quartararo had his best race in a while to finish seventh. Jack Miller was eighth in a tricky race, ahead of Augusto Fernandez, who pipped Fabio di Giannantonio coming to the chequered flag in the fight for tenth.
Marco Bezzecchi and the Mooney VR46 team had a very difficult weekend and he finished twelfth, one position behind his teammate, Luca Marini. Marc Marquez made it to the points in Barcelona, finishing thirteenth. Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami completed the points scoring top 15.
There were a few more retirements after the restart. Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder and Raul Fernandez all suffered mechanical issues and did not make it to the chequered flag.
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