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Martín and Zarco on podium as Espargaró celebrates too soon in Catalunya
A bizarre end to the MotoGP™ of Catalunya saw Aleix Espargaró pause to celebrate one lap early, letting Jorge Martín, Johann Zarco and Joan Mir through.
Reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo raced away with the MotoGP™ of Catalunya as the French rider took the lead from the front row and set off into the distance on the low-grip Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo.
But pole sitter Aleix Espargaró had a day to forget after bizarrely backing off on the final lap to celebrate second place, only to realise there was one lap remaining.
It was too late and the Aprilia rider had allowed Pramac duo of Jorge Martín and Johann Zarco to wrap up second and third place while Joan Mir also jumped him to leave the Spaniard fifth. At a stroke, Espargaró undid not only his brilliant pole position, but also his hard work to keep ahead of the hard-charging Martín.
At the start of lap three, Martín on the Pramac GP22 out-braked Espargaró into first corner to take second place. Espargaró fought back, retaking second place with a pass at the same spot on Lap 10, only to struggle with tyre deg and drop to third. However, he found some extra pace and regained P2 again with just four laps to go.
Then came his big mistake. As he took the chequered flag, Espargaró stopped and held his head in his hands, and cut a disconsolate figure as he headed to the pits.
It was an impressive return for Mir who made a brilliant start, the 2020 World Champion catching the eye as he glided his Suzuki through the field to move from 17th up to sixth place on the first lap.
Third place for Zarco helped the Frenchman to leapfrog Francesco Bagnaia into fourth overall in the world championship standings after the Italian wiped out on the first lap.
Impressing were KTM stars Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira who enjoyed a good tussle for points with the Portuguese rider running off off track at one point trying to overtake his team-mate. They finished 8th and 9th while Álex Márquez produced a strong run to rise from last place to 10th for LCR Honda. Rookies Remy Gardner and Darryl Binder were 11th and 12th, Jack Miller 14th with Raúl Fernandez (Tech3) taking the final points in 15th.
Quartararo is now 22 points clear in the championship of Espargaró, with Bastianini 53 adrift and 66 over Bagnaia. The next round is the MotoGP™ of Germany at the Sachsenring on June 19.
Results: Catalunya MotoGP™ Top 10
- Fabio Quartararo FRA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)
- Jorge Martín SPA Pramac Ducati (GP22)
- Johann Zarco FRA Pramac Ducati (GP22)
- Joan Mir SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)
- Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia Factory (RS-GP)
- Luca Marini ITA Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)
- Maverick Viñales SPA Aprilia Factory (RS-GP)
- Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM (RC16)
- Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM (RC16)
- Alex Marquez SPA LCR Honda (RC213V)
MotoGP™ World Championship Standings (Top 10)
- Fabio Quartararo 147pts
- Aleix Espargaró 125pts
- Enea Bastianini 94pts
- Johann Zarco 91pts
- Francesco Bagnaia 81pts
- Brad Binder 73pts
- Alex Rins 69pts
- Joan Mir 69pts
- Jack Miller 65pts
- Marc Márquez 60pts
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