Late race contact between Danilo Petrucci and Pol Espargaro cost the Ducati rider three places in Sunday's Aragon MotoGP.

After losing touch with the second group, Petrucci was embroiled in a close fight with the KTMs of Espargaro, Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona, plus the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro, for eleventh place.

But after being passed by Binder at Turn 4, Petrucci was then clipped from behind at Turn 5.

"Unfortunately with 3 laps to go Pol Espargaro hit me from the back," Petrucci said. "I fell from the bike, but fortunately I was able to [keep control] but I went straight on and lost positions to him, Aleix and Lecuona.

"It was not a day to remember, for sure I'm not happy about losing three positions in one moment for another rider's fault.

"I have been to Race Control but they already saw the accident and intended to call me. They are checking later because the Rookies Cup was on."

Espargaro declined to comment on the incident, while no sanction has so far been announced by the FIM Stewards.

"I've decided not to talk about nobody else but me and I will continue like that because then my words get changed in the press and I get in trouble every time. So I won't talk about anyone but myself, sorry," Espargaro said.

Prior to the clash, Petrucci had been satisfied with the opening half of the race, where he had been fighting for top Ducati honours in the 'second group' despite continuing to struggle for top speed.

"I was quite satisfied with the first half of the race because I was fighting with the other Ducatis. For sure I was good but I was always trying to catch them on the straight and it was very difficult, I was always having to brake harder," he said.

"Then I was following Cal and one time I tried to attack him but I went wide and Johann passed me."

Petrucci said he wasn't sure if the soft rather than medium rear tyre would have been a better choice, but did indicate that a set-up change during warm-up hadn't paid off.

"When I lost the contact with Johann and Cal and the group of Jack and Dovi it was very difficult for me to stay there and I struggled a lot. But I don’t know [if it was the tyre choice], I felt also the bike so nervous," he said.

"This morning we made a modification to the set-up to try to find the grip that is always missing at this track. Maybe we found just a bit on acceleration but I lost the bike stability going into the corners and this means that also with the used tyre I got no corner speed.

"I think there was a two-second gap between me and Johann [on the soft rear tyre] when Pol touched me."

Petrucci was again asked whether he had been able to patch up his friendship with team-mate Dovizioso, who was furious after being used by Petrucci for a tow throughout Qualifying 1.

"Dovi was very angry for sure with me and it was correct because for sure he lost the access to the Qualifying 2 because I stayed behind him," Petrucci said.

"But as today you can see from TV I lost a lot of time on the straight, even in the slipstream, so as I told you I used him to get a slipstream on the back straight.

"We already knew this [top speed issue] and today was just a matter to defend the position on the straight because it was impossible to follow the other riders."

Dovizioso, who finished as the top Ducati in seventh and closed to within 15 points of new title leader Joan Mir, said: "With Danilo I didn't really speak about the details, but we have the same flight later! So we will have a chance…"

Petrucci, winner of the previous Le Mans round, heads into this weekend's second Aragon round 13th in the world championship.

 

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