Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro beat team-mate Maverick Viñales to claim the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, Round 11 of the MotoGPTM World Championship. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) was third. Aided by the performance of his MICHELIN Power slicks, Espargaro also won Saturday's sprint to make it a perfect weekend on home turf!
The year's 11th grand prix was red-flagged after two separate incidents on the opening lap. Victims included Francesco Bagnaia - who had posted a new track record (1m38.638s) on his way to qualifying on pole the previous day - but the Ducati Lenovo Team star was unable to line up for the second lights-out.
The restart saw Viñales get away well from fourth on the grid and lead for much of the afternoon. On the 20th of the 23 laps, however, he was passed by stablemate Espargaro who had carefully managed his medium MICHELIN Power Medium slicks front and rear around the Spanish venue which is just kilometers from where he grew up. He went on to win by three-tenths of a second to contribute to Aprilia's first one-two success at MotoGPTM level.
Martin was unable to challenge for the victory but was third past the flag, followed by Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) and Miguel Oliveira (RNF CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team).
On the tire front, Michelin's rubber helped Espargaro to beat the circuit's previous lap record several times during free practice, but it was Bagnaia who ended up posting the definitive new benchmark, in qualifying. The chief compound choice for Sunday's race was the medium front and rear, a pairing that proved competitive at the low-grip track.
Despite having to sit out the grand prix, Bagnaia continues to top the provisional standings on 260 points, chased by Martin (210) and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) who is a further 21 points adrift.
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya weekend also featured Round 7 of the FIM ENEL MotoETM World Championship, for which Michelin provided the riders with a new, stiffer front casing to address the circuit's challenging demands. The first race was won by Andrea Mantovani (RNF MotoE™ Team), while the second victory was pocketed by Mattia Casadei (HP Pons Los40). The fight for the all-electric series' first title since gaining full-fledged world championship status will be settled at the season's final outing at Misano, Italy.
Next round: Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, Italy (September 8-10).