"He looked at me like, ‘you’re crazy’"

Catch up on some of the biggest Talking Points from the weekend's action at the Catalan GP

It proved a history-making weekend at the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya, with Aprilia reigning in Barcelona thanks to the efforts of their factory duo Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales. They recorded a first-ever one-two for the Noale factory on a day of high drama, and these are your Talking Points from the weekend.

“I’m very proud of Aprilia”

It’s been a long road to the top for the Italian brand, and both Espargaro and Viñales were quick to point that out post-race on Sunday.

Aleix Espargaro: "I think that today is a very historical moment. I’m very proud of Aprilia. Very, very proud because we came from very far away. Aprilia has to be very proud of Maverick and me because we together did an amazing and historical job. It’s not easy to have a good relationship with your teammate when you are fighting for top positions and to develop the bike to fight against your rivals. So, I’m very happy. Congratulations to Aprilia."

Maverick Viñales: "As Aleix mentioned, three years ago we were talking in his motorhome. I was not sure to do it, because in the end it’s always difficult to make a bet like that. I had a really good contract and in the end, I bet on myself, I bet on Aprilia’s side."

“He looked at me like, 'You’re crazy'”

The duo also enjoyed an unusual celebration on track after the chequered flag, with the race winner revealing his motivations behind it.

Espargaro: When I saw Maverick, I said, “Let’s change the bikes,” he looked at me like, you’re crazy. I said to myself, I remember at that moment Maverick struggling three years ago, and he was super down. I was talking to him. “You will come to Aprilia.” But obviously, he was not sure, because Aprilia was finishing at one minute. But I said to him, “You are very strong. We’re going to put this bike on top." This is like a present to Aprilia, to ourselves, to belief, to hard work. Teamwork in the end pays off because two strong riders working together, it’s much better than one. Today we proved. This is a present for Romano, Massimo, and everybody back in Noale.

Viñales: I didn’t know if we could do it or not. That’s why I was a little bit, we can do it or not? We did it.

When I walked in there, I wasn’t expecting to see him chilling”

Shortly after lights out, the Catalan GP was brought to a halt after a couple of big crashes through the opening corners, with World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) involved. Riders gave their accounts of the incident after the race.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): “I went to see him at the medical centre, and he seemed okay. I don't know if he just had something with his leg or legs.

“Honestly, when I walked in there, I wasn’t expecting to see him chilling! I must be quite honest. He seemed okay!”

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing): “I saw him highside. It’s really unusual nowadays in MotoGP. It was really strange. Then I braked so, so hard trying to avoid touching him. Then as soon as I braked, I felt a big hit from the back from Brad, I guess. Then I saw that he went through Pecco’s leg. So at that point, I was a bit scared. Then all the oil was coming onto my visor and on my bike. I thought the best thing was to go in. I tried to make the movement of the flag. After that, my swing arm was broken, my exhaust pipe also. So I had to go to my second bike that I didn’t really like during the weekend.”

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team): “Yeah I saw both crashes. The first one I already saw when we started to brake, because I was with Enea, more or less parallel, he was more inside and then I saw that I was I brake late but he brake even later and I said OK we will see. And yeah, he made a mistake. So he has been penalised for it. It's not necessary to push more. Sure, he learned about it. Unfortunately, I think he's injured so I hope he'll recover.

“And then the scary one was Pecco. Because I saw immediately his highside, because normally in the first corners, I like to look very far [ahead], to see what's going on. And yeah is there where I saw the highside and immediately I rolled the gas because I already understand that the bike or the rider will be in the middle of the track.”

“It’s always good to be the first”

Viñales also recorded another little piece of history in Barcelona, becoming the first rider to receive a warning regarding the new tyre pressure rules. In the end, he say it had little effect on his race, and joked about it afterwards.

Viñales: “It didn’t help because in the end my front was destroyed. But the rules are the rules. So, I got the warning. We will play the Joker in another track. It is okay. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is we look for safety. That’s the important thing. It’s strange because my lap count was okay. So maybe it had something on the sensor. I don't know. We’ll see. It’s always good to be the first one!

“They know how important the Misano Test is”

After a tough weekend, there were plenty of encouraging signs for Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) in Sunday’s race, as he went from P17 to P7. He has already opened up on the importance of the next Official Test for his future in MotoGP™, something which he emphasised at the weekend.

“Mentally, it's difficult to go from winning with 6 seconds and now finishing 10 seconds behind. It's difficult, but I think they know how important the Misano Test is. But then, from Misano to the beginning of the preseason will be 6 months. So, it's important for them to work well; now at Misano, and then from Misano to the Valencia Test, and then the Malaysia Test. This will decide many things for 2024 and the future.

“I didn’t know it was the last lap!”

Jack Miller fought in mid-pack to come home in P8, but says while in the thick of battle, he didn’t know he was about to take the chequered flag!

“I was able to stay fighting with the boys until the end. I kind of didn’t know it was the last lap! Fabio was pushing hard to Alex [Marquez] and I was pushing Fabio really hard but ran out of time.

“I was so focused on the guys in front of me and with the wind and everything like that, I wasn't really paying attention to the laps. I never normally really look at the lap board unless I'm really struggling. And then you're sort of looking at it and it can't go down any faster! But when things are working well, you're not really looking at it. It's like that sometimes.”

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