Aleix Espargaro was involved in a “stupid” bicycle accident while using his phone ahead of the Italian MotoGP.
Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro is attempting to save his Italian Grand Prix weekend after suffering a “stupid” cycling accident on Thursday while using his phone.
The Aprilia rider experienced a big crash while cycling on Thursday in Mugello, that left him with injuries to his arm, back, and injuring his heel. He claimed that despite nothing being broken in the incident, he is currently in “a lot of pain” and finds it difficult to make use of the rear brake.
The 33-year old, who is well known for being an avid cyclist practically replicated Alex Rins’ error from two years ago by getting into a terrible accident that was caused by using his phone while cycling.
He had been riding at the circuit, just like Rins, but unlike Rins’ crash prevented him from competing in that year’s Barcelona weekend, Espargaro seems to have avoided fractures and is still riding despite his agony.
“It was a stupid thing,” Espargaro explained the incident on Friday, after having stayed quiet about the affair the day before.
“I decided to go out to do two hours and it was quite foggy, was super foggy yesterday morning. So I said to myself ‘okay, stay in the track, it’s more safe’. And being on track you are more relaxed, and I was using the telephone like stupid, and I had a big-big-big-big crash.”
“I have on my back and arm and everything a big bruise, but this is not the biggest problem. My heel is destroyed. I have a lot of pain, I have a lot of blood inside.
Espargaro appeared to be in tears after his first run in the first Friday practice, and after he fell off his RS-GP, he was unable to leave without the help of a marshal. This was the first sign to those watching that anything was really wrong on his side.
Espargaro believes he will only need to have the blood drained once more this weekend, before Sunday’s race, as he is aware that having it done repeatedly increases the danger of infection.
“We removed the blood for the second session,” he added. “I have a lot of pain and I cannot use the rear brake.
“I said sorry to the team many times, so I will try my best, as I did today, to be careful in the last laps, to put the bike in the top 10, I will do the same for Sunday.”
Espargaro will enter Q2 on Saturday despite finishing ninth overall in the aggregate times for FP1 and FP2.
A thumb brake might have been added to Espargaro’s RS-GP before of Friday’s practice sessions, but the rider decided against it because he feared it might lead to more issues and even an accident.
“I raced in my career with big injuries, I destroyed both my hands and one week after operation I raced no problem,” Espargaro said. “I destroyed my left heel at Silverstone [last year], I raced on Sunday, was not a disaster.
“But this time, nothing is broken but it’s full of blood, it’s something on the ligaments or something that we will discover on Monday.”
He said that he would have thought about skipping the sprint totally to relax but won’t do so because it is Aprilia’s home event and he has previously acknowledged he would let the team down if he did.
Despite this, the Spaniard managed to earn himself an automatic Q2 spot in the dying minutes of Friday practice by finishing ninth and being the only Aprilia in the top 10, while his last-ditch lap sent teammate Maverick Vinales to Q1.
“I was extremely happy, because I have a really bad feeling inside for the team,” he said. “So at least when I put the bike in top 10 I was quite happy.
“And I saw that there was no other Aprilia in the top 10 – so I was very happy at least for the team, to put the bike in the top 10.
“I know that it will improve day by day, the foot. So, the goal here is to fight for the victory. I don’t know if I will arrive there, but at least to be competitive in the home GP.
“I think I could’ve finished in a better position but first lap I went wide, second lap I got yellow flags [for Fabio Di Giannantonio’s crash] and I did my laptime in lap three, that the tyre was already dropped.”