Aleix Espargaro took the MotoGP sprint win in Catalan GP after last lap crash for Francesco Bagnaia, with Marc Marquez and Pedro Acosta in Top 3.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) took victory in a dramatic Tissot Sprint at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, keeping it faultless to the flag as not one, not two, but three different leaders slid out. First was a heartbreaker for Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) as the maiden front row starter was building a gap and then overcooked Turn 10 in the early stages.

Second was a tumble at Turn 5 for Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) just after he’d fought off the affections of rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3), and then finally and arguably crucially, reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) saw his hopes of a first Sprint win of the season turn to dust on the final lap as he slid out at Turn 9.

As the lights went out, Bagnaia took the holeshot from second on the grid, with Acosta slicing up to lead the chase. Binder also got a fast start to move up but then lost out again to Raul Fernandez as the Aprilia slotted into third. It didn’t take long for Acosta to attack for the lead, but it likewise didn’t take long for Bagnaia to hit back. Raul Fernandez was harrying them though, and as Acosta attacked into Turn 1 on Lap 3 and took it back, the Trackhouse machine lined up the reigning Champion at Turn 3.

Then it was all change in glorious but relatively clean havoc at the front, with Raul Fernandez emerging as the race leader after barging past Acosta. The Trackhouse Racing machine was absolutely flying as Binder and the rookie duelled just behind him, with Acosta making it stick at Turn 1 but Fernandez was already eight tenths clear. And suddenly, it then all came apart for the Trackhouse rider as he slid out at Turn 10, rider ok but head in hands.

From there, Binder vs Acosta looked like it would light up the battle for the lead, but the 33 got the upper hand and started to build a gap – leaving Bagnaia to wrestle with Acosta instead. Soon enough though the second race leader to slide out became Binder, the KTM sliding out at Turn 5.  The lead was now a duel between Bagnaia and Acosta, or vice versa. Turn 1 was the battle ground and the rookie pulled his now signature move, but the #1 was quick to find an answer up the kerb on the inside of Turn 3.

Brutal? Yes. Job done? Yes. From there he started to build a gap, and Espargaro was on the march next to test out Acosta’s defenses, finding a way through to take up the chase on the reigning Champion. That left the master and the apprentice locked in battle over third: Acosta led Marc Marquez. And this time, in a beautiful reverse of that statement Turn 1 move, it was Acosta under attack as the #93 sailed into the corner side by side with the rookie, taking over in third.

The final drama was dealt on the very final lap. Seeming like he had it in his pocket, Bagnaia was then suddenly sliding out at Turn 10, seeing what could have been a key haul of points disappear in the gravel trap as Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) had a tougher Sprint. Espargaro was in just enough clear air to sweep through for that fairytale win. Marquez held off Acosta round the final sector too, and what could have been a key title swing proved much less as Martin’s drama free Sprint saw him take P4.

Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) made a solid comeback from outside the top ten on the grid to complete the top five. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) was sixth – finishing in the same position he started. Jack Miller brought the remaining Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine to seventh after battling with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), who rounded out the top eight after charging from 12th. The final point in the Sprint went the way of Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team’s Marco Bezzecchi with everything still up for grabs on Sunday.


[Note: The story is as per press release]