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Race report
MotoGP Catalan GP

MotoGP Catalan GP: Espargaro wins crazy sprint after last-lap Bagnaia crash

The retiring Aleix Espargaro was gifted victory in the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix sprint after Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the lead on the last lap of a dramatic race.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Set to end a barren run without a sprint win since last year’s Austrian GP, Bagnaia fell off his factory Ducati at Turn 5 on the last lap of 12 while running eight tenths clear of Aprilia’s Espargaro.

Espargaro, who started from pole but got beaten up in the early laps, had recovered to second on lap eight and was promoted to the lead when Bagnaia crashed.

It marks his first sprint win of the season and comes just 48 hours after announcing ahead of his home race that he will retire from racing at the end of the 2024 season.

Marc Marquez came from 14th on the grid to finish second, besting Tech3 GasGas rookie Pedro Acosta on the final lap.

A tough race for championship leader Jorge Martin saw him salvage fourth from seventh on the grid, meaning his points lead has only shrunk by one to 37.

The 12-lap sprint had five riders leading it at various stages, three of whom crashing out while heading the pack.

Bagnaia nailed the launch off the line from second on the grid to take the holeshot at the start, with Acosta moving into second from third-place starter Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing), KTM’s Brad Binder and Espargaro.

Martin moved up to sixth in the opening turns, while Marquez survived Turn 2 contact with KTM’s Jack Miller – which left the Gresini rider missing wings on the left side of his fairing – to sit eighth off the line.

Acosta put a challenge on Bagnaia for the lead on the run to Turn 1 at the start of lap two, though the Ducati rider carved past again at Turn 5.

Acosta repeated that move on lap 3, while Fernandez got opportunistic and scythed underneath Bagnaia at Turn 3, which then allowed Binder to overtake the Italian for third at Turn 4.

Fernandez then threw his 2023-spec Aprilia up the inside of Acosta at Turn 5, an aggressive move that opened the door for Binder to come through into second.

The Trackhouse rider proceeded to dart away from the pack, swelling his lead to eight tenths over Acosta come the end of lap four.

But Fernandez crashed at Turn 10 on the next tour, releasing Acosta into the lead before Binder jumped the Tech3 rider at Turn 1 on lap six.

Binder was breaking away on lap seven when he crashed at Turn 5 while leading, releasing Bagnaia to head the pack after the Ducati rider came out on top in a battle with Acosta on lap six and earlier on the seventh tour.

Bagnaia looked set to hold onto the lead as Espargaro, who moved ahead of Acosta for second on lap eight at Turn 1, couldn’t make any inroads into the Ducati rider.

But, on the final lap, Bagnaia slid off his GP24 at Turn 5, gifting Espargaro a lead of almost nine tenths to ensure victory.

Marquez’s march towards the front having gotten to eighth at the start continued on lap seven when he passed Martin for what was fifth at the time, before outbraking Acosta for third at Turn 1 on the final tour.

That became second when Bagnaia crashed, extending his strong run of Saturday rostrums to four for 2024 so far.

He held Acosta at bay by 0.277s, while Enea Bastianini came from 11th to fifth on the second factory team Ducati.

Fabio Di Giannantonio was seventh on the VR46 Ducati, with Miller, Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) rounding out the top nine to take the last points.

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo came just 0.598s from a point in 10th, while Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and LCR Honda’s Johann Zarco crashed out.

MotoGP Catalan GP - Sprint race results:

Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 12


167.4 12
2 Spain M. Marquez Gresini Racing 93 Ducati 12



0.892 167.3 9
3 Spain P. Acosta Tech 3 31 KTM 12



0.277 167.2 7
4 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 12



0.978 167.1 6
5 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 12



0.833 167.0 5
6 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Team VR46 49 Ducati 12



1.643 166.8 4
7 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 12



3.461 166.3 3
8 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 12



0.161 166.3 2
9 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 12



0.398 166.2 1
10 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 12



0.598 166.1
11 Italy F. Morbidelli Pramac Racing 21 Ducati 12



0.296 166.1
12 Spain A. Rins Yamaha Factory Racing 42 Yamaha 12



3.508 165.6
13 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 12



0.154 165.6
14 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 12



0.179 165.6
15 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 12



3.060 165.1
16 Italy L. Marini Repsol Honda Team 10 Honda 12



1.562 164.9
17 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 12



7.262 163.9
18 Germany S. Bradl HRC Test Team 6 Honda 12



8.489 162.8
dnf Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 11

+1 Lap


1 Lap 167.6 Accident
dnf Portugal M. Oliveira Trackhouse Racing Team 88 Aprilia 9

+3 Laps


2 Laps 166.9 Accident
dnf France J. Zarco Team LCR 5 Honda 7

+5 Laps


2 Laps 165.0 Accident
dnf South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 6

+6 Laps


1 Lap 167.3 Accident
dnf Spain R. Fernández Trackhouse Racing Team 25 Aprilia 4

+8 Laps


2 Laps 167.1 Accident

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