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Espargaro waves goodbye to podium finish at Catalan GP

Fabio Quartararo’s win seemed inevitable from early in the race, and Aleix Espargaro looked locked in for second until a last-lap calamity.

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro (L) and Ducati Pramac rider Jorge Martin compete during the Moto Grand Prix de Catalunya at the Circuit de Catalunya on June 5, 2022.

Fabio Quartararo extended his MotoGP championship lead with victory in Sunday’s Catalan Grand Prix as title rival Aleix Espargaro made a staggering and costly mistake.

Quartararo was a comfortable winner, and Espargaro looked nailed on for second place as he began the final lap, but the Spaniard thought the race was over and began waving to the crowd in Barcelona.

He was celebrating what he believed to be a podium finish, having started on pole position, but by slowing down he lost momentum and could not recover once he realised his clanger, trailing home in fifth.

Espargaro misses out on home podium finish

Espargaro would have had good cause to celebrate second place, given he suffered abandonments in six of his previous seven appearances in this race, finishing only once when he was 12th in 2020.

The devastated Espargaro was later seen with his head in his hands by the side of the track and in the Aprilia garage. Nine points had slipped away, potentially crucial come the end of the season, with Quartararo boosting his championship lead to 22 points.

Quartararo and Espargaro were first and second at halfway, with a gap of around four seconds between the pair.

Espargaro slipped a place as Jorge Martin jumped to second, but the Aprilia man soon edged back ahead of the Pramac rider.

That looked set to be the 1-2-3 until Esparagaro’s miscalculation allowed Martin to snatch second place, with Johann Zarco finishing third and Joan Mir fourth.

There had also been early drama, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), winner of two of the last three races this season, crashing out on the first corner along with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) after a shunt.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini), third in the championship, a place ahead f Bagnaia, also tumbled out of the race, with Quartararo’s grip on first place tightening even before Espargaro’s hapless error.


1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 147 2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 125 3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) 94 4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 91 5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 81