MotoGP Qatar GP: Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro Faces Grid Drop and Fine After Morbidelli Slap

During Saturday's practice at the Qatar MotoGP, a tangle on the track between Aleix Espargaro and Franco Morbidelli quickly got out of hand. After a close call, Espargaro gave the Italian a smack on the head and then rode off.

By Divyam Dubey | on November 18, 2023 Follow us on Autox Google News

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro faces consequences ahead of the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix, after being handed a grid penalty and fined for an incident involving Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli during Saturday's third practice. After Morbidelli passed Espargaro on Turn 5, Espargaro tried to pass him again on Turn 6. This is when the two racers collided. However, the two riders clashed during the manoeuvre, sending both to run wide at Turn 6. Espargaro became agitated and smacked Morbidelli on the head. The investigation by the FIM MotoGP stewards resulted in a fine of 10,000 euros and a six-place grid penalty for Espargaro in the Qatar Grand Prix. Due to the on-track incident, the officials felt it necessary to award the penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Aleix Espargaro's punishment was explained by the Stewards as follows:

'On 18" November 2023 at 15;07:19 during QATAR AIRWAYS GRAND PRIX OF QATAR Free Practice 2 session you were observed to have behaved in an aggressive manner including physically striking number 21. 

This contravenes Article of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship Regulations "any corrupt or fraudulent act, or any action of prejudicial to the interests of the meetings or of the sport, carried out by a person or a group of persons occurring during an event". It is therefore an infringement of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship Regulations, being detrimental to the interest of the sport.

"For the above reasons, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel has imposed a fine of 10,000 Euros and 6 Grid Positions penalty for the MotoGP QATAR AIRWAYS GRAND PRIX OF QATAR MotoGP Race."

MotoGP Qatar GP: Other Incidents

The strange occurrences involving Pol Espargaro in this weekend's MotoGP. On Friday, Pol Espargaro passed Marco Bezzecchi during a practice session, which appeared to annoy Bezzecchi. Bezzecchi's repeated nudges of Espargaro's KTM as they lined up for practice start, although neither rider was penalised for their actions.

Lecuona, cruising on the track, impeded Ducati works rider Enea Bastianini during a crucial Q1 lap that could have secured the latter a spot in Q2. Despite the penalty, Lecuona's one-position loss will have minimal consequence, given his qualification in penultimate place, ahead only of LCR colleague Takaaki Nakagami.

Espargaro's starting position would drop from 10th to 16th due to the penalties. Brad Binder, Augusto Fernandez, Bezzecchi, Fabio Quartararo, Bastianini, and Jack Miller are all better off after the shuffle. As a result, the forthcoming MotoGP race in Qatar is now even more intriguing than it already was before the weekend's events.

MotoGP Qatar GP 2023: Interesting Facts About Lusail International Circuit

In less than a year, the Lusail International Circuit was constructed in preparation for the 2004 MotoGP inaugural in Qatar. It is situated on the periphery of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. In less than a year, the Lusail International Circuit was constructed in preparation for Qatar's inaugural MotoGP. Qatar assumed the inaugural hosting of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2021. Starting in 2023, the nation was granted an additional decade of hosting rights.

The 5.4-kilometre Lusail International Circuit was intentionally engineered to cater specifically to the requirements of motorcycle racing. This circuit features a dynamic configuration comprising both swift and curving segments, alongside a considerable quantity of turns ranging from moderate to high speeds. A substantial portion of the track's total length is made up of its main straight, which is almost 1 km long.

Tags: MotoGP Qatar GP Aleix Espargaro Franco Morbidelli

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