Pol Espargaro has refused to criticise Marc Marquez for failing to adhere to yellow flags in an incident at FP3, but nonetheless felt the championship leader was “too aggressive in overtaking” during a strange incident that saw both men fall.
Yellow flags were displayed mid-way through Saturday morning's session after Nicky Hayden lost the front end of his RC213V on the entry to the corner.
As Espargaro and Marquez approached, the Repsol Honda man attempted to pass, bringing the pair down and sending the former man's Yamaha M1 careering toward Hayden and a group of marshals, attempting to retrieve the American's machine.
Marquez had come in for criticism from Pol's older brother Aleix on Saturday afternoon, with the Suzuki man stating, “When there is a yellow flag you cannot crash, because there can be people working in the track and if the bike hits them it can kill them very, very easily.”
Yet Pol agreed with Marquez, saying he had not seen the yellow flags that had been displayed for Hayden's fall during what was a bizarre, crash-strewn morning session.
The younger Espargaro joked, “It was like we had one guy doing voodoo to us”, as this incident was the second spill he suffered in a matter of minutes.
“The second crash I was unlucky,” he explained. “Marc was too fast. He braked too late, tried to overtake me and he crashed. I crashed with him. By the end we were really unlucky. Two big crashes.
“I think in that case for sure Marc was too aggressive in overtaking me. In that moment it was not possible to do it in that way. For this reason he crashed. But with the question of the yellow flag, I even didn't see it. It was too fast.
“Nicky crashed and even if the flag was there I didn't see it. It's not his fault. His fault was that he tried too hard and he crashed. But about the yellow flag he couldn't see it.”
With three men falling in quick succession at the same corner, some speculated whether a substance had been deposited on track. Yet Hayden poured cold water on that idea, and explained how he had braked a little harder than usual, which ultimately led to his fall.
“Well, we see that corner is critical, but I came over that hill - you don't really see it on TV - but that's a blind entry. I came over the hill and at the last minute I saw a yellow flag being waved out of the corner of my eye.
“I didn't know what was on the other side, so I broke a little bit harder to scrub speed and just locked the front. Also maybe I was on the white line a little bit, but I saw other guys braking there on the white line.
“But the front is really critical there, it's a downhill corner, it wasn't like I felt a lock and tried to save it. I felt the lock and then my elbow was getting hot!
“But it was also a little strange to have four guys crash in a matter of two laps. And there was a guy who ran off in front of me, which was why there was a waving yellow. But also we see on the data I braked with 1.3 bar extra and it don't take much now on the tyres, especially on the right side.
“[It was the] Same tyre I'd been using. I broke a little harder, but 1.3 bar is not normally enough but when you are right on that fine line.
“But the crash was the easy part! I'd slid a long way and was thinking 'let's pick this bike up and get back to the pits' and then all of a sudden I hear bikes sliding to me. It was maybe closer than it looked because the bike was slowing down, but the shame was my bike wasn't too bad.
“I was about to pick it up and ride it in with no damage, and then when I went back for it the second time it was leaking fluid out of both ends. So the team did a really good job to prepare it. I was impressed with their work.”