‘Speechless’ Espargaro dedicates maiden Aprilia MotoGP 1-2 to Bagnaia

Bagnaia was involved in a horrific accident on the opening lap of the Grand Prix while leading, after falling off a Ducati exiting turn two.

The World Championship leader then had his leg run over by KTM’s Brad Binder, who could do nothing to avoid it.

Bagnaia and his teammate Ena Bastianini – who caused a collision at Turn 1 – were taken to the medical center, before being taken to hospital.

Bagnaia is believed to have largely escaped any serious injuries, with the Italian undergoing scans to ensure he did not suffer any fractures to his leg.

Meanwhile, Bastianini is believed to have suffered fractures to his hand.

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

The Spaniard, who also won Saturday’s sprint race, dedicated his win to Bagnaia, and also explained that the wind had caused several problems with his driving style – forcing him to make several mistakes, one of which left him 1.3 seconds behind Vinales at one stage.

“I’m speechless,” Espargaro said on the park lawn. “The first thing I want to say is that I’m happy, really, really happy because it’s nothing [serious] Today happened at the first start.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and the Geese / Motorsport pictures

“Luckily Pico is not really dangerous, they tell me now. So, this win for Pico because I was right behind, and I was very worried.

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“Then 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.

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

“I thought for a moment I wouldn’t be able to catch him, he was so fast. But I changed [engine] 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 beating Bagnaia in a thrilling final-lap round at Silverstone, and the third of his entire career.

It also comes a year after his last-lap mistake at the 2022 Catalunya GP, where he lost 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’ written on it, in respect to his 2022 mistake.

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