The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ 2023 will be remembered with a name of its own, that of Aleix Espargaró. The Catalan was the absolute dominator of the weekend, taking a double victory in his home Grand Prix. Today the local fans also had the opportunity to see another local representative on the podium, Maverick Viñales, who gave Aprilia its first double in the premier class.
This context took place today in front of a total of 71,855 attendees which, added to those of Friday and Saturday’s Grand Prix, makes a cumulative total of 152,065 (27,621 on Friday and 52,589 on Saturday).
Aleix Espargaró, Maverick Viñales and Aprilia Racing could not have imagined a better event than Catalunya. The Italian team have scored a total of four podium positions, with a first-third in yesterday’s Sprint Race and a first-second in today’s race. For Aleix Espargaró, it is also his second win of the season, and probably the most special of his career. Espargaró, one of the reasons for Viñales’ association with Aprilia, was able to enjoy the gold medal in the company of his friend.
This happy outcome for the day’s protagonists, however, was preceded by a somewhat more abrupt start to the race. At the start of the CatalanGP, Enea Bastianini tried to gain positions by taking the inside of the first turn, but the Ducati rider clearly ran out of space and caused a multiple crash involving Johann Zarco, with whom he had a direct impact, followed by Álex Márquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Marco Bezzechi (Mooney V46 Racing Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP).
A few metres ahead, poleman Pecco Bagnaia was leading the long line of bikes until his Ducati suffered a crash that sent him tumbling to the ground. This incident, along with the previous one, led to a red flag to ensure the safety of all involved. After 21 minutes, the MotoGP grid was back on the main straight of the Circuit. Both official Ducati riders, Bagnaia and Bastianini, were missing from the grid. They were both at the medical centre undergoing medical check-ups. The riders were conscious at all times and were taken to the hospital for further medical tests.
The CatalanGP therefore continued with Jorge Martín (Prima Pramac Racing) taking the lead, albeit under pressure from the two Aprilia riders. This situation changed very quickly, as Mavarick Viñales snatched the top position from him. A lap later, Espargaró also left Martín behind. From that moment on, Maverick Viñales was on autopilot for most of the race, with Aleix Espargaró behind him. The two Aprilias even opened up a gap of two seconds over Martín, showing great pace.
With four laps to go, Aleix Espargaró decided to attack. The Granollers rider took the lead on the first lap of the track, and Viñales was unable to catch him. The two Aprilias, on tyres with high tyre degradation, made a final sprint to give this historic result to the Italian brand. Espargaró was able to cross the finish line in that long-awaited first position, which he dedicated to Pecco Bagnaia, followed by Maverick Viñales and Jorge Martín.
Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira were just off the podium, while a consistent Álex Márquez took a hard-fought sixth place in front of the home crowd. Last year’s CatalanGP winner Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) took the chequered flag behind the Catalan. The Frenchman’s situation contrasts sharply with last year’s, as this season is proving to be a tough one for him.
Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team), for his part, has been fighting in the group of riders where his brother was, with less fortune for him, who finally finished 13th. The Cervera rider, however, promised in front of his grandstand that next year will be better. Pol Espargaró (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) was the only Catalan rider unable to finish the race due to mechanical problems. It was a bittersweet experience for the winner’s brother, who was also unable to cross the finish line yesterday.
Moto2™: Dixon wins and first podium for Arenas
Jake Dixon took his second win of the season. The Asterius GASGAS Aspar Team rider deserved the first step of the podium, but he also deserved the most uncomfortable rival he had today, Arón Canet (Pons Wegow Los40), who finally finished second. Both riders were ahead of each other on numerous occasions, until the World Championship leader took control of the race. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) showed his party spirit by leading several laps.
In the final third of the race, Acosta was overtaken by his rivals and also came into contact with Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUP), who carried out a controversial manoeuvre. With Acosta in fifth place and out of the betting, the Dixon-Canet duel had the fans in suspense. The Valencian tried his best to score his first win, but but missed out by a whisker.
The third protagonist of the round was Albert Arenas. The Catalan rider took his first podium on home soil, with more than justified happiness. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has completed an excellent weekend, as he qualified fifth yesterday, heading into today’s race in perfect shape. Not so satisfied is Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), Acosta’s main rival for the title. The Italian was 17th, and therefore did not score any points. In the standings, this translates into a further 10 points for Acosta, which added to the points he already had makes a total of 22.
Moto3™: Fightback and victory by David Alonso
David Alonso achieved the unthinkable today in the most evenly matched category of the World Championship. The Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team rider gave the team its third consecutive victory at the Circuit after a brilliant performance. Alonso started from 12th place in a race in which riders like Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) or Jaume Masià (Leopard Racing) seemed to have the situation under their control. The two riders swapped the top position relentlessly, with David Alonso progressing at a frenetic pace.
The three riders were joined by Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP), David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports), poleman Iván Ortolá (Angeluss MTA Team) and championship leader Daniel Holagado (Red Bull KTM Tech3), among others. The front row had up to 14 riders separated by a few thousandths of a second. This made for an agonising end to the race. In particular, it was the last one when the course of the race took a 180º turn.
Alonso, Masiá, Öncü, Muñoz, and Holgado were fighting for the victory when, at turn 10, Holgado crashed. A few meters ahead, entering the main straight of the Circuit after the last turn, Öncü overstepped the brakes and took Muñoz in front of him. This cost him a six-second penalty that dropped him from third to 12th place. Finally, the podium was made up of David Alonso (his first podium at the Circuit), Jaume Masiá and a surprised José Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
Hero Walk and Riders Fan Parade a huge success
One of the new proposals of the MotoGP World Championship, the Hero Walk, has allowed this weekend the fans to approach the paddock entrance to meet their MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™ idols in a place designed for the occasion. The riders talked to their fans, took pictures and signed autographs. For the first time at the Circuit, the MotoGP™ riders got on a trailer before the race to do a full lap around the track and greet the fans during the activity known as Riders Fan Parade.
The Open Track, a great party
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ had a grand finale. It was the classic Open Track, the activity that allows fans to access the track a few minutes after the end of the premier class race. Fans were able to watch the podium ceremony from the main straight from any of the public areas of the facilities and were delighted by a unique entertainer, DJ Andrea Oliva.
A special edition of KISS Barcelona
The Sustainability Meeting Point platform of the Circuit promotes KISS Barcelona by once again taking part in the KISS (Keep It Shine and Sustainable) programme of the FIM Ride Green. The programme also celebrates a decade of history coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the FIM Ride Green. The Gran Premi de Catalunya MotoGP, an ISO 20121:2013 certified event, is once again promoting actions within the framework of the United Nations SDGs.
Some of these actions are the use of 100% renewable energy, the rental of low-emission generators, the commitment to energy self-consumption, the donation of surplus food, the offer of km0 and ecological food, the presence of drinking water sources in the public areas, the improvement of the biodiversity of its green areas, the collaboration with companies with social value, the valorisation and recycling of waste, the promotion of sustainable mobility, the use of the circular economy, and many more.