Aleix Espargaro's first race start as a full time MotoGP rider ended with his first ever premier class DNF, after the young Spaniard was forced to retire following this crash from his Pramac Ducati (see below for full sequence).
Espargaro had qualified 14th and was up to eleventh when he lowsided from his Desmosedici at the final turn of the floodlit Losail circuit, on lap seven of 22. The #41 tried to continue but was forced to retire shortly afterwards.
"In the first laps I had some difficulties, but just when I felt that my feeling with the bike was improving I found myself with my backside on the ground,” explained Aleix, after his fifth MotoGP star.
“I was approaching the riders in front of me and I was very confident to reach them. I don't have much more to say, we will have to earn the points lost here in two weeks time in Japan."
Team-mate Mika Kallio, beginning his second season in MotoGP, had already hit the asphalt - on lap 3 - after being bumped back to 17th and last on the opening lap.
"What can I say! Perhaps the worst start of my career. Frankly, even the most unlucky: I managed to gain some positions in the first turn, but in the second Spies touched me making me lose five positions,” he revealed.
“After a few turn Barbera also accidentally hit me, sending me off the track. I managed to stay on my bike and came back in last position. I was trying to push hard to reach the group but I slipped and at that moment there was nothing else I could do.
“We have to forget this race, a long season is ahead of us," the Finn concluded.
The Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi takes place next weekend.