Danilo Petrucci revealed that Pol Espargaro hit the back of his bike late in Aragon MotoGP race as Alex Marquez eyes consistent Top 8 results.
It was evident from Aragon MotoGP qualifying that Ducati’s Petrucci did not have the pace in straightline as he took the help of Andre Dovizioso to get into Q2. It played a role in the race where he dropped to 10th in the opening lap on Sunday.
He was overtaken by LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow soon as he then had Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and KTM’s Pol Espargaro & Brad Binder to defend from. It went on race-long until three laps to go when Petrucci was hit from the back, which dropped him back.
He ended up 15th eventually after being tagged in the back by P Espargaro at Turn 5, with the Spaniard finishing 12th ahead of his brother Aleix but behind Binder, who made the most of the tangle. The Race Direction met the riders but not penalty awarded so far.
“Unfortunately with three laps to go Pol Espargaro hit me from the back,” Petrucci said to media including Motorsport Network, The Race, crash.net and more. “I fell from the bike, but fortunately I was able to keep control of it but I went straight on and lost positions to him, Aleix and Lecuona.
“It was not a day to remember, for sure I’m not happy about losing three positions in one moment for another rider’s fault. I have been to Race Control but they already saw the accident and intended to call me. They are checking later because the Rookies Cup was on.
“When I lost the contact with Johann and Cal and the group of Jack and Dovi it was very difficult for me to stay there and I struggled a lot. But I don’t know if it was the tyre choice, I felt also the bike so nervous. This morning we made a modification to the set-up to try to find the grip that is always missing at this track.
“Maybe we found just a bit on acceleration but I lost the bike stability going into the corners and this means that also with the used tyre I got no corner speed. I think there was a two-second gap between me and Johann when Pol touched me,” summed up Petrucci, as he and Andrea Dovizioso were set to talk about the qualifying issue on flight.
On the side of P Espargaro, the Spaniard maintained his no-talk policy with the media. “I’ve decided not to talk about nobody else but me and I will continue like that because then my words get changed in the press and I get in trouble every time,” he said. “So I won’t talk about anyone but myself, sorry.
“I was quite satisfied with the first half of the race because I was fighting with the other Ducatis. For sure I was good but I was always trying to catch them on the straight and it was very difficult, I was always having to brake harder. Then I was following Cal and one time I tried to attack him but I went wide and Johann passed me.”
While these guys fought in the third group, Honda’s Marquez was once again showing a much improved performance as he pushed first for podium and then chased Suzuki’s Alex Rins for his maiden MotoGP victory. He had to settle for second but it was his second consecutive podium finish – one in the wet and other in dry conditions.
Despite the good results, Marquez is not aiming high as his prime aim is Top 8 finishes and be consistent there. “I am so proud about what my team give me because we have a nearly perfect bike,” he said. “Always you can improve something but we have a really good bike. They told me before the race believe in yourself. Do what you did in practice.
I felt quite well with the bike and in the beginning I was overtaking the people step-by-step and not getting crazy so yeah I can be really happy. I did a mistake with two laps to go in the first corner and I was a little bit wide and I lost the contact with him a little bit. But, yeah, a second podium in a row is so special for me and the team.
“A podium means it is a bonus. Joking aside, it’s true that it’s not two dry podiums. It was one wet one at Le Mans which nobody expected because we were starting from 18th. But here it’s a dry podium, not coming because many riders crashed. We were the second-fastest on track, recovering a lot of positions. So, it means that we are making our job in the best way that we can. We are improving day by day, we will not give up.
“We will try to still improve to the end of the season. Now I will focus 110 percent in the next weekend because I think we have a good chance to improve and take some profit. But I think also we need to see if this potential we have here we can also show in Valencia and Portimao. It will be a good test for us for next year to try to be fast from the beginning.
“But my target is not to be on the podium every weekend because it’s not our real potential. Our real potential is like a rookie one, trying to be more regular in the top eight and try to be more consistent and try to build up our confidence a little bit more,” summed up Marquez, who is now level with Binder in the rookie honours fight with 67 points each.
Here’s Fabio Quartararo explaining his issue, Joan Mir on title
Here’s how Aragon MotoGP panned out