Under normal circumstances, falling from the lead of his home Italian MotoGP race would have been at the forefront of Francesco Bagnaia's mind on Sunday evening at Mugello.

Instead, "finishing first or last today wouldn’t change anything. It’s been one of the worst days of my life."

The Factory Ducati star's mistake on lap 2 of the premier-class race paled into insignificance due to the tragic death of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier.

The 19-year-old had been airlifted to hospital on Saturday due to serious head injuries, with the official announcement of his death issued two hours before Sunday's MotoGP race.

An emotional minute's silence was arranged at the front of the MotoGP grid, after which Bagnaia was one of many riders to embrace Dupasquier's heartbroken team.

But the MotoGP riders then had just 15-minutes to try and reset their minds before the start of their grand prix.

"I asked to not race today," Bagnaia said. "It was not correct for me. If it happened to a MotoGP rider we wouldn’t race. I’m not happy about the decision of someone to let us race after news like this.

"It doesn’t matter if I crashed. I’m just thinking of him, his family. We have lost a 19-year-old rider. This is a very difficult to accept and difficult to accept the decision to let us race today."

The Italian added that the timing of the news issued by the hospital, although out of anyone's control, plus resulting minute of silence, made things especially hard.

"After the news I said to my team, to Davide [Tardozzi] that I was preferring to not race. [But] this is our work. We have to do it," he added.

"Already in 2016 when we lost Luis [Salom] I was in the same situation. Before the race we did one minute of silence and, like today, it was very difficult during the minute of silence to not let the tears come down.

"The hospital has to declare when someone passes away. It was a situation where it was very difficult. The thing I don’t accept is that we have raced today. Like I said before, if it happened to a MotoGP rider, we wouldn't race today."

Countryman Danilo Petrucci also felt strongly that MotoGP not only made a mistake in going ahead with the race, but in holding MotoGP qualifying as normal directly after Saturday's accident.

"Today first of all was a really, really difficult race. But not for the sporting side. On the human side I don’t feel really, really clean," said the Tech3 KTM rider. "I just think that we are racing on the same track that almost 24 hours ago someone like us died.

"We understood the situation was very, very [serious] since yesterday. It was clear nobody wants to tell the truth. But we understood the situation. In this case I always think if it happens with a MotoGP rider, if we’d continue like this?

"I mean, is it a different life because it’s a Moto3 rider, he’s more or less important? I don’t think so. So knowing [he had died shortly before the race] or not, yesterday the helicopter left the track and 3 minutes later we put the leathers on and went out like nothing happened.

"Nobody asked to have a meeting with us today to say 'one of us is not with us anymore, can we talk a bit if it’s correct for his family or his friends to continue to do this?' Nobody asked us.

"The most difficult part was yesterday - that you see a body on the track, you've got the same leather suit and after 3 minutes pitlane opens and you pass the point where a rider [may have] died.

"I mean, we talk a lot about safety, about everything but we pass [the same spot] after 3 minutes. There was even the flag with red and yellow stripes because maybe there were things they need to use to recover the body. We pass through them like always.

"I don’t know. At least make a meeting. Share opinions and comments would be better. I didn’t know him personally. But imagine being one of his friends, I think you’d get rid of the bike today.

"I don’t know if you just think about the bike or about racing, about MotoGP, Moto3, tyres, performance, like this… I feel quite dirty today."

Although all riders were hit hard by Dupasquier's death, and struggled to switch from the emotionally-charged minute of silence to putting their own lives on the line soon after, most were swayed by the fact that cancelling wouldn't change what had already happened.

"I can understand why some riders don’t want to race. It's a feeling that every rider has for sure on the grid and it's a feeling you have to fight against when you actually have to race. Because finally not racing doesn't change anything," said Franco Morbidelli.

"At least you can show the people at home the good as well as the bad parts of our wonderful sport.

"[But] it's very difficult to start a race after such bad news. You never get used to this kind of news and it's always a big [weight] on your mind and on the trust that you have to go on the bike again and do your job and your passion.

"Sometimes life is a bastard. Sometimes life is shit. But you need to go forward because it's life. This is how I try to go through these moments."

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro struggled to block out his grief over Dupasquier's death and also understands both sides of the race/not race argument.

"I don’t know how we were on the grid doing 1 minute silence for a kid we lost yesterday and ten minutes later we were able to ride," Espargaro said. "Sincerely I have no answer. I don’t know. I was very sad. I know it's life. We know it's our sport. We put our mind in a parallel world and try not to think…

"If I say yes or no [about starting the race] it would be the same. I was very sad sincerely. There are other riders that are maybe affected less by these things, which is not to say they are not good humans. I'm not saying this. But others can forget this better and for me, maybe because I'm a father and have a brother racing here, I don’t know but sincerely for me every time this happens it's very difficult for me.

"Again, I don’t know from where we found the strength to forget and as soon as the red lights go out your brain goes into race mode and you completely forget for the next 40 minutes.

"But I've done 300 races in the MotoGP World Championship, so for me if we were not racing today, I would not be against for sure. But you have to understand also that, it's difficult to say, but there are a lot of people working here, a lot of money, a lot of things. So it's not that easy to cancel one race. So I can understand both sides."

Bagnaia's Ducati team-mate Jack Miller had similar sentiments.

"As you can imagine what we’ve had has been a f**king tragedy. Such a great young life has been lost. Somebody’s son. Somebody’s brother.

"It’s a great shame. One thing you can say is he passed doing the one thing he loved. We love this sport and would do anything for this sport. My most heartfelt condolences go out to the family, for a mother and father to have to go through this is terrible."

But the Australian felt it was right for the race to go ahead.

"For me, I felt like racing. Jason was a racer at heart. I’m sure he’d have wanted the race to go on. It’s the one thing we love to do and it’s the one thing we’re good at. We have tragedies. We all know motorcycle racing is dangerous. You try not to believe it, or think about what can happen.

"I see a lot of similarities with myself and Jason. Last year he was a little bit out of his depth. He really started digging and working and this year we started seeing some great speed from him. But he was taken away from us far too early.

"Carlos [Ezpeleta] came to me and asked when we’d like to do the minute of silence. I said as soon as possible. It meant a lot. For the fans, for the team. It was emotional. I had some tears in my eyes sitting there, looking at his bike.

"[But] I think there’s nobody with a gun to your head. If you want to race, you can race. I think the fact they put the show on for us, and let us do the one thing we love, it’s massive from them."

42-year-old Valentino Rossi, by far the most experienced rider on the grid, said:

"Today was very difficult because after what happened to Jason yesterday the question is, why we race? Everything loses sense. I think anyway it doesn’t make sense not to race, because unfortunately what we do today doesn’t change what happened to Jason yesterday.

"But it was very bad. Very tough. Unfortunately, I already knew yesterday night that the situation of Jason was desperate. Because the head took a big concussion. That is one story and another story is when you understand that [he's died]. It’s difficult for everybody also for the young riders. But what can you do?

"You have to try to concentrate at the maximum. When you are on the bike, if you are not concentrated it’s dangerous. So you try to do the same things you always do and just think about the race, but sincerely it was very difficult."

Dupasquier's death is the fifth fatality in motorcycle grand prix since 2003 following the loss of Daijiro Kato, Marco Simoncelli, Shoya Tomizawa and Luis Salom.

While Kato and Salom died due to impacts with trackside barriers, Simoncelli, Tomizawa and now Dupasquier fell into the path of other competitors, a constant hazard for which there is currently no solution.

"From one side we make a lot of steps for safety, modifying the tracks. We improve a lot but we need more. A lot of times we ask for more run-off area but some things are not possible due to money or natural space," Rossi said.

"Also from the other side we improve the safety of the helmet, leathers, airbag, and I think we made good steps in the last years.

"The problem of yesterday, unfortunately, is the one that also caused other [fatal] accident in the last years - from Simoncelli to Tomizawa - and from that point of view we cannot do enough.

"The problem with motorcycle racing is when you crash and you remain in the track and the guy behind arrives. In practice you can ride alone, but in the race you are all together.

"In Moto3 you make all 22 laps with 20 bikes together. I think it’s very difficult to fix this problem unfortunately."