MotoGP stars Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro were involved in an angry confrontation during Qualifying 1 for the Austrian Grand Prix, which then continued on Twitter.

Petrucci was chasing Valentino Rossi towards the end of Q1 when Espargaro, travelling slowly offline, also spotted the chance for a tow from the #46 and tried to dive in behind Rossi at the penultimate turn.

The Ducati rider was left fuming at the 'block' and made his feelings clear to Espargaro at the start of the next lap, making an aggressive pass on the Aprilia rider into Turn 3, before sitting up and giving some 'angry' hand gestures on the exit and again in pit lane.

"Aleix came in on my line, and then I also had Aleix in front of me in the last corner," Petrucci said. "I had to wait a little bit to open the throttle because he was really close," said Petrucci, who felt the incident might well have cost him the 0.050s he needed for a place in Qualifying 2.

Espargaro saw the incident differently.

"He’s just stupid what he did, all the show he did. I don’t understand. If you analyse the timing his best sector 4 of all weekend has been set in that lap," Espargaro said. "Then he closed the throttle in the middle of straight, he destroyed my next lap and he started to do stupid things… he was just trying to justify he’s in P13 with the winning bike of the last four years.

"But it’s not my fault. I said sorry to him because I could understand he felt he couldn’t follow Valentino for one more lap. I said three times sorry, but then he made the show. It was not necessary. But anyway this is racing, it happens every single weekend. That’s it."

Race Direction was due to speak to both riders later in the day.

"I think they have to penalise him," Espargaro said. "Sure, I will go later because he closed the throttle in the middle of the straight. We actually talked two races ago about the gesture. They said to us 'please be careful, polite'. So I hope he gets a fine."

Petrucci conceded he shouldn't have made the hand gestures.

"I will maybe talk with Race Direction later. But I don't know what they have to tell me. For sure my [middle] finger was too much, but we are always trying to do our best and it makes me laugh because he always writes on Twitter. I prefer to talk directly in person and talk with the results on track. So he is always the same."

Nonetheless, Petrucci responded when Espargaro posted the sector times on Twitter alongside a dig at the Italian's qualifying performance:

Espargaro and Petrucci previously clashed on Twitter in the aftermath of the 2018 Argentina MotoGP.

The pair will start alongside each other on tomorrow grid, in 13th and 14th places.

 

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