Espargaró ‘Extremely Angry’ After Morbidelli Crossed ‘Sacred Line’
Published: 21st November 2023
After a disappointing weekend in Qatar, Aleix Espargaró’s resentment towards Franco Morbidelli remains unabated.
Typically, this would be the time for Aleix Espargaró to recuperate, move on, and put the Qatar Grand Prix incidents behind him.
However, the Spanish fan favorite not only suffered a torn left shinbone in a collision caused by Miguel Oliveira during the sprint race but also had to retire in the main race on Sunday, leaving him without a single point instead of the anticipated podium finish.
“I always strive to give my all. On Sunday morning, I completed three laps and thought I was on the verge of collapsing from the pain. I pleaded with the medical team for everything they could provide, and during the race, I surprisingly experienced no pain,” Espargaró recounted.
“However, the injury led to heightened inflammation of all nerves, tissues filled with blood, and a complete loss of sensation in my leg. I had no strength, couldn’t shift gears, and had to pull out.”
In addition to the leg injury, likely to hinder him in the Valencia season finale and potentially prevent his participation, Espargaró is embroiled in dissatisfaction with Franco Morbidelli.
During FP2 on Saturday afternoon, an incident unfolded between them where Espargaró appeared in a negative light.
Morbidelli, slowing down due to yellow flags, impeded Espargaró, who caught up with Morbidelli’s factory Yamaha, delivering a blow to Morbidelli’s helmet, later clarifying that his intent was not to hit but to push him away.
“In my view, it’s unjust that the stewards only assessed the last five seconds of the incident. Morbidelli shows no respect for anyone. In Sepang, he even angered his teammate without facing any penalty.”
“Moreover, he treated Marc Márquez poorly when Márquez slipstreamed behind him in Q1 in Malaysia.
On Saturday in Doha, he impeded me three times as I exited the pit lane, preventing me from entering the track. However, I reacted poorly, and I regret it…”
The helmet strike not only resulted in a grid penalty of six places and a 10,000 Euro fine for Aleix but also generated headlines painting him in a negative light.
The prevailing opinion is that the 34-year-old Spaniard, with his experience, should have exercised better self-control.
Morbidelli, naturally, echoed this sentiment, stating, “I would like to know what he tells his children about this incident.”
Upon hearing Morbidelli’s comment, Aleix Espargaró erupted in anger once again. “If you only consider the final part of this incident, then the penalty is warranted. I am aware that I am now subjected to a wave of animosity,” explained the Aprilia factory rider.
“Simultaneously, it’s somewhat unfair because Franco has been lingering on the tracks for a year and a half, consistently causing disruptions in every race. This is his behavior or work ethic.”
“I almost crashed twice because of him, and when I tried to rejoin the track, he obstructed me again. That’s when I lost my composure. Yes, I reacted improperly, and I apologize to my team and family. However, it’s unjust to focus solely on the final part of this story.”
“What truly infuriates me is that he brought up my family and children in his statements. He crossed a very sacred line for me! This chapter is far from over. I am extremely angry.”