The Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) received a six-place penalty on the starting grid for the Qatar Grand Prix scheduled for Sunday and a fine of 10,000 euros for hitting the helmet of the Italian Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha ) during free practice on Saturday. The stewards decided to sanction the Catalan for showing “aggressive behavior” and “hitting” the Transalpine, according to the press release published by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM).
After being embarrassed by Morbidelli, Espargaro expressed his displeasure by making large gestures towards his opponent and when the latter approached to tell him to calm down, he gave him a big slap on the helmet, while driving. “My reaction was very bad. He was in the middle of the track and I almost hit him twice. Then he embarrassed me and I lost my nerve with a completely excessive reaction. I received a penalty which in my opinion is a little too harsh but I accept it because the image I gave is very bad,” said the pilot in a video published in the evening on his Instagram account.
“I never want to be within 100 yards of him again. This is not the first time that he has behaved badly... He has been more often noticed by his excesses than by his performances on the track,” Morbidelli tackled during a press briefing after the sprint. .
Espargaro, who had taken tenth place in qualifying an hour after this altercation, will therefore start Sunday in 16th position in the Qatar Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the season... if he is declared fit to ride because he was injured Saturday during the sprint.
Hit during the first lap by the Portuguese Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia-RNF), who broke his right shoulder blade in a fall, the Catalan fell and suffered a small fracture on the head of his left fibula. He will have to be examined by the doctors on Sunday before the warm-up. “I hope I can sleep. I don’t know if I’ll be able to drive tomorrow (Sunday) because I’m in a lot of pain so we’ll see how I feel when I wake up,” Espargaro added in the video.