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Iannone offers apology to Espargaró

Iannone offers apology to Espargaró

Italian rider sorry for causing crash at Misano and for headbutting race rival Pol Espargaró.

With some time to reflect on the dramatic occurrences at Misano on Sunday afternoon in a breathtaking 125cc race, Ongetta Team I.S.P.A. rider Andrea Iannone has offered a sincere apology to Pol Espargaró for taking him out on the final lap and then appearing to headbutt the Spaniard.

The former 125cc standings leader was given a $5,000 fine by Race Direction immediately after the race, but he then further inflammed the situation with some harsh words uttered to the Italian and Spanish media.

On Monday, however, via a press release sent out by his team, Iannone stated, “I had been waiting for the Misano race for a long time and I had dreamed about achieving a good result in front of the Italian fans, but the dream turned into a nightmare a few metres from the finishing line.

He continued, “It was a great race, with both of us riding very correctly and with Pol Espargaró riding bravely, imposing his rhythm right until the end. But on the last corner I felt confident and certain I could get past him. I broke really hard, went on the inside, arrived at the apex and then when I thought I had got through the angle changed. I couldn’t do anything at that point to avoid the crash and I took Pol out of the equation as he was going around the outside and he had no fault in the crash. We hit the ground and all I could think of was that a big chance had been lost.”

“Then when I went to apologise to Espargaró he understandably reacted with some strong words and punched my bike,” Iannone added. “As Valentino Rossi said later I should have gone to apologise again but instead I lost my temper and I did something which I will always regret for the rest of my life. When I went back to the pit-box there were several journalists waiting for me and I made another mistake by saying some things in the heat of the moment which I really did not think. It was something that happened because of the intensity of the moment, after such a dramatic end to an amazingly close race.”

“On Sunday night, thinking through everything that had happened I was ashamed about what had happened with Pol and the things I said to the media afterwards. I have to say that I really appreciate Pol’s qualities as a rider, he is very fast and, like me, he tries to do the very best job he can. I want to apologise to everyone, to my team, to my sponsors and all fans of motorcycle racing. I am sure this will not happen again,” concluded the 20 year-old.

An understandably disgruntled Espargaró had commented on Sunday, “I rode one of the best races of my life and then I ended up on the floor with my bike totally destroyed. Iannone tried to get through where there was no room, took me down and then when I asked for an explanation he headbutted me. As a sportsman he behaved in an unacceptable manner.”

125cc, 2009, GP CINZANO DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, Ongetta Team I.S.P.A.

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