Rider Ratings: How much does lapse of concentration cost Aleix Espargaro?

Crash.net journalist Robert Jones runs through the field’s rider ratings following a chaotic Catalan MotoGP that was dominated by a big lap one incident and a costly blunder by a championship favourite late on.
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya

Fabio Quartararo - 10

(Qualified 3rd, finished 1st) 

Not for the first time this season reigning MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo is awarded full marks due to his sensational display in Catalunya. The French rider led every lap after making one of his better starts, a launch that enticed him to make a late lunge on Aleix Espargaro heading into turn one. From then on, Quartararo pulled clear with absolute ease, reminding everyone that the championship leader is in the form of his life. 

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Jorge Martin - 10

(Qualified 6th, finished 2nd)

After several hugely disappointing rounds which have likely cost Martin the chance of joining the factory Ducati team for 2023, the Spaniard showed incredible grit and speed to re-find his form and claim second. Without a crucial mistake from Aleix Espargaro the Prima Pramac Ducati rider would have struggled to regain P2, however, a podium regardless of which position was much needed. Martin looked back to his best which will please Ducati. 

Johann Zarco - 9

(Qualified 4th, finished 3rd)

Another strong showing from Zarco as he continues to deliver for Ducati even on the days where all seems to go wrong for the Italian manufacturer. The French rider was unable to challenge his team-mate which would have been a disappointment, but it remains a solid podium for the former two-time Moto2 champion. 

Joan Mir - 10

(Qualified 17th, finished 4th)

Joan Mir, Catalunya MotoGP race, 5 June
Joan Mir, Catalunya MotoGP race, 5 June

Without doubt one of the best racers in MotoGP, Mir once again made up for a poor qualifying by delivering a stunning Sunday performance. Yes, Mir benefited from some mistakes ahead, however, the pace he showed was very strong and deserving of a top five. 

Aleix Espargaro - 5

(Qualified 1st, finished 5th)

The overwhelming pre-race favourite, Espargaro never got near to delivering the win. In fact, the Aprilia rider was surprisingly caught up in a battle with both Prima Pramac Ducati riders before a huge blunder set him back even further. Having regained P2 with four laps to go, Espargaro slowed across the start-finish line with one lap to go, which was followed by applause for the Spanish crowd. But little did Espargaro know, the race was still going on. As he looked back, Espargaro spotted Mir and Luca Marini going at full speed and suddenly he realised the error. Espargaro fought back to get ahead of Marini, but it’s a mistake that could prove pivotal in the championship . 

Luca Marini - 8

(Qualified 9th, finished 6th)

Matching his performance from Mugello, another sixth place finish for Marini is beginning to highlight the serious steps he and the Mooney VR46 Ducati team are making. Often fast over one-lap, Marini seems to have found the set-up he requires for race distance which could make him a force going forward.

Maverick Vinales - 8

(Qualified 8th, finished 7th)

While Vinales had better race pace than seventh, the Catalunya MotoGP was a good sign for the Spaniard who managed to stay in the leading group early on before demonstrating his true pace as the Grand Prix went on. A better grade would have been given if he sneaked into the top five - was 1.6 seconds away from doing so. 

Brad Binder - 8

(Qualified 15th, finished 8th)

Brad Binder, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June
Brad Binder, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June

A solid but quiet showing from Binder as the KTM rider once again took advantage of a good race start to set-up his top ten result, a finish that could have been so much better had he qualified higher up. 

Miguel Oliveira - 8

(Qualified 16th, finished 9th)

Like Binder, Oliveira made an electric start before avoiding the drama in front of him. Oliveira appeared to have more speed than Binder early on, but as he attempted to gain track position, a big mistake at turn one led to him running off-track. 

Alex Marquez - 9

(Did not qualify, finished 10th)

After missing qualifying due to a final corner crash in FP4, Marquez delivered a stunning ride in today’s race as he was clearly less than 100% fit. Coming from the back of the pack, Marquez showed excellent pace throughout as he picked off several riders. 

Remy Gardner - 9

(Qualified 20th, finished 11th)

Remy Gardner, Catalunya MotoGP race, 5 June
Remy Gardner, Catalunya MotoGP race, 5 June

His best result to date in MotoGP, Remy Gardner showed just why he’s the reigning Moto2 world champion. The Tech 3 KTM rider failed to show such pace in practice, but when it mattered most we saw an impressive and calculated ride from the MotoGP rookie. 

Darryn Binder - 9

(Qualified 23rd, finished 12th)

Like Gardner, Binder produced his best dry-weather performance of the season in order to move up 11 places. Again, crashes in front of him helped, but nothing can be taken away from the South African who continues to show why he deserves a second season in the premier class. 

Franco Morbidelli - 4

(Qualified 18th, finished 13th)

A weekend that promised so much after finishing three of the first four practice sessions inside the top ten, Franco Morbidelli failed to show that level of form in the race. The Yamaha rider was over half a minute down on Quartararo, which is the type of gap we’re becoming accustomed to seeing between the two. 

Jack Miller - 4

(Qualified 11th, finished 14th)

For the second time in as many races Miller was nowhere to be seen regarding the top points scoring positions. In fact, not once did Miller appear in the top ten as his struggles from Mugello surprisingly carried into this weekend.

Raul Fernandez - 7

(Qualified 24th, finished 15th)

Not something we expected to be saying about Fernandez this late into his rookie campaign, but the Tech3 KTM rider finally scored points for the first time this season.

Michele Pirro - 6

(Qualified 22nd, finished 16th) 

A solid rider for the Italian in what was his second wildcard appearance of the 2022 MotoGP season. 

Pol Espargaro - 5

(Qualified 10th, finished 17th)

After a brilliant start that positioned him in fourth on the run-down to turn one, Espargaro hit trouble as the race went on before finishing last of the completed race runners. 

Andrea Dovizioso - 4

(Qualified 19th, DNF) 

Lacking pace when running, Dovizioso’s difficult 2022 campaign continued as he retired from the Catalan MotoGP after 17 laps. 

Enea Bastianini - 3

(Qualified 14th, DNF)

Enea Bastianini, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June
Enea Bastianini, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June

With his championship aspirations in the balance following Mugello’s disappointing result, it was instead back-to-back non-scores for Bastianini as he crashed out at turn five.  

Marco Bezzecchi - 4

(Qualified 13th, DNF) 

Looking to build upon a brilliant performance in Mugello, Marco Bezzecchi’s race was finished after just five laps when he crashed at turn 12. 

Fabio Di Giannantonio - 4

(Qualified 5th, DNF) 

Like fellow rookie Bezzecchi, Di Giannantonio was reduced to watching the rest of the race from his garage after exiting the Grand prix with a turn 13 fall. 

Stefan Bradl - 3

(Qualified 21st, DNF) 

With one Honda already out of the race, Stefan Bradl would have been aiming to bring home his RC213V and gather data for the Japanese manufacturer, however, that failed to happen when he crashed out on lap one. 

Takaaki Nakagami - 3

(Qualified 12th, DNF)

Over before his Catalan MotoGP really began, Takaaki Nakagami was responsible for a disastrous turn one incident on the openign lap. After making yet another fantastic start - the Japanese rider was heading towards turn one in fifth after starting 12th - Nakagami lost the front of his LCR Honda before collecting Alex Rins and Francesco Bagnaia. Nakagami also hit his head very hard on the rear of Bagnaia’s Ducati. 

Francesco Bagnaia - 6

(Qualified 2nd, DNF)

Fabio Quartararo leads, Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Rins crash, Francesco Bagnaia behind, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July
Fabio Quartararo leads, Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Rins crash, Francesco…

In need of a big result given the consistency Quartararo and Espargaro have shown in 2022, Bagnaia was given no chance of fighting for victory after being hit from behind going into turn one. The Italian remounted his Ducati machine in an attempt to carry on, however, it was a decision that was quickly cut-short as he returned to pit lane on the following lap.

Alex Rins - 6

(Qualified 7th, DNF)

Like Nakagami, Rins made a fantastic start as he positioned himself in fourth on the approach to turn one [started seventh], but like Bagnaia, the Suzuki rider could do nothing about Nakagami’s out-of-control LCR Honda which first made contact with Rins.

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