another stone on the road


another stone on the road

A human error in Aprilia condemns the career of Aleix Espargaró and distances him from the battle for the title. Victory for Jack Miller, podium for Jorge Martín and fourth place for Marc Márquez

During the warm-up lap of the MotoGP race, the image was focused on the camera aboard Aleix Espargaró. The Spanish rider made a fuss on his bike and drove very slowly, to despair. With all his rivals already on the grid waiting for the lights to go out, he entered the pit lane, threw away his bike (literally) and got on the second Aprilia his mechanics had prepared at the entrance of the box. By the time he pulled the endless straight back onto the track, he had lost a total of 8 seconds in the lead. He still had 24 laps to go and a row of bikes to overtake. This time the epic would be insufficient. Aleix Espargaró finished 16th, just one position away from a symbolic point and fading physically and mentally. “I am powerless,” the Spaniard remarked after the race. “This costs a lot. As often as they say, the Aprilia is not the Ducati or the Yamaha or the Honda. I’m not Marc Marquez either. Being where I am has cost me a lot and such a stupid mistake pisses me off.

The source of the problem: a fuel economy map set on his Aprilia since the formation lap from the pits. “This ‘eco-lap’ card is used to save fuel when you go to the grid and the engine is not going faster than 5,000 rpm and 80 km/h”. Aleix tried everything in that painful warm-up lap. He tried all the buttons, restarted the control unit and even tried to find a fault in the system by means of idling gears. But it was impossible. Only the same Aprilia electronics it left behind could have fixed it. A human error that cost Aleix Espargaró a zero and a good chunk of his title options.

The result was bad against the championship… but it could have been worse. None of his rivals for the title were brilliant in the race. It soon became apparent that neither Fabio Quartararo nor Pecco Bagnaia had their day in Motegi. The Frenchman spent the entire race in eighth place. He did not overtake any driver, nor was he overtaken. And things were much worse for the Italian, who crashed on the last lap when he was ninth and tried to pass the world leader. But nothing comforted the eldest of the Espargaró: “Actually, it annoys me more than it comforts me, because here I was able to win very quietly and we almost became leaders”. Sunday’s big beneficiary was undoubtedly Quartararo, who, despite a gray race, leaves Japan with an 8-point lead over his rivals. In the overall standings, he leads Bagnaia by 18 points and Espargaró by 25. There are four races to go and 100 points are at stake.

Jack Miller took a comfortable win for Japan and extended the fine moment for Ducati, who have won the last six races. The Australian had no rival, except in the first few laps, where it took him a while to find the gap to pass his fire mate, Jorge Martín. The Madrid native got off to a great start from fifth and tried to catch Miller as he made the final speed change, but tire choice was decisive. The Australian had opted for the hard rear and Martin for the middle. The tire fall was too fast and the last laps were long. So much so that on the last lap he lost second position to South African Brad Binder.

Behind Martín, a Marc Márquez crossed the finish line who hadn’t seen a checkered flag in four months. The Repsol Honda rider had already made it on Saturday and took pole position on the wet, but he was aware that he would suffer on dry land. He got off to a good start, but on the first lap he suddenly lost four positions due to a minor electronic problem on his bike that he didn’t want to reveal. At least he was able to fix it right away. From there, he read himself at the wheel of Miguel Oliveira’s KTM and let himself go until the end. It was a mystery how his arm would react in the final laps and he was positively surprised. “I didn’t expect to finish so well, and not even be able to attack at the end,” explained a smiling Marquez who had the luxury of overtaking the Portuguese driver three laps before the end. “I didn’t think much about it because I was clear about the two points where I could overtake. And I did that without finding out». It was like the reinterpretation of Carlos Sainz’ famous “stop inventing” at Silverstone. And while this time it didn’t mean he had to win a race, it was for Marc to finish very physically like a win.

Source: La Verdad


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