until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Espargaro hospitalised with ‘back and chest trauma’ in FP2 crash

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Tech3 Gas Gas rider Pol Esparagro suffered “back and chest trauma” in a terrifying crash in the second MotoGP practice session of the season opener at Portimao.

Espargaro was taken to the medical centre after his crash and, while remaining conscious according to MotoGP, is now heading to a local hospital for further examinations.

The first FP2 of the 2023 season, now scheduled to run to 60 minutes instead of 45 as part of the new sprint race-incorporating weekend format, actually took up two hours thanks to two lengthy red flag interruptions.

The first came due to a power outage at the circuit, with the timer frozen at just under 47 minutes for half an hour before proceedings were resumed.

The second suspension was slightly shorter but much more concerning, with Espargaro requiring medical attention at the site of an over-the-hill crash at Turn 10 – after he was thrown off his RC16 and then had it follow him at speed into the gravel trap, leading to a presumed impact.

Espargaro had to be loaded into an ambulance to take him to the circuit’s medical centre, from where he is now headed to hospital.

Spanish broadcaster DAZN quoted MotoGP medical director Dr Angel Charte as saying that Espargaro “did not lose consciousness at any time”.

It was Espargaro’s second crash of the session. The first was also a fast one, coming due to an unspecified failure on the rear of the bike.

Espargaro’s red flag-triggering accident was also accompanied by near-simultaneous falls for RNF Aprilia duo Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez, the former having a nasty highside at that same Turn 10 but emerging with nothing worse than leg pain.

Jack Miller

Pol’s brother Aleix Espargaro led the way at the time of the red flag, but it was KTM’s Jack Miller ending the session on top – with a new Portimao MotoGP lap record to boot.

Miller, making his debut on the KTM RC16 this weekend, tucked in behind Ducati’s Enea Bastianini on his final lap and jumped to the top spot with a 1m37.709s.

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales took second, while Ducati’s championship favourite Pecco Bagnaia was third, his Demosedici GP23 slowing with an apparent issue right after he’d set his best time.

Bagnaia had previously avoided what looked a near-certain crash through the final corner by using his right elbow.

VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini shrugged off a crash in the closing minutes to place fourth after darting back to the pits.

Pramac Ducati duo Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco were fifth and seventh, split by Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who avoided a Q1 berth at the last moment.

Marini’s team-mate Marco Bezzecchi – despite a crash of his own earlier in the season – and works rider Bastianini made it six Ducatis securing automatic passage to Q2, while Aleix Espargaro advanced too, despite dropping down to ninth in the final minutes.

Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez, who had topped the opening session, was the fastest rider to miss out.

Among those who will contest Q1 on Saturday – given it’s now only FP1 and FP2 that determine automatic Q2 spots, due to the introduction of the sprint – are Miller’s team-mate Brad Binder, known to be still feeling the after-effects of his crash in testing, and Honda factory duo Marc Marquez and Joan Mir.

The elder Marquez crashed late on while trying to follow Quartararo on what turned out to be the Yamaha rider’s fastest lap. Mir, meanwhile, had crashed early, but was ultimately the top Honda in 12th.

The only other rider to crash was Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez.

Practice 2 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m37.709s
2 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.037s +0.037s 1m37.746s
3 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.11s +0.147s 1m37.856s
4 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.043s +0.19s 1m37.899s
5 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.092s +0.282s 1m37.991s
6 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.024s +0.306s 1m38.015s
7 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.097s +0.403s 1m38.112s
8 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.046s +0.449s 1m38.158s
9 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.095s +0.544s 1m38.253s
10 Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.003s +0.547s 1m38.256s
11 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.129s +0.676s 1m38.385s
12 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.009s +0.685s 1m38.394s
13 Alex Rins LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +0.022s +0.707s 1m38.416s
14 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.003s +0.71s 1m38.419s
15 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.408s +1.118s 1m38.827s
16 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +0.055s +1.173s 1m38.882s
17 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +0.022s +1.195s 1m38.904s
18 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.006s +1.201s 1m38.91s
19 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +0.048s +1.249s 1m38.958s
20 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.02s +1.269s 1m38.978s
21 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.443s +1.712s 1m39.421s
22 Pol Espargaró GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +0.709s +2.421s 1m40.13s
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