until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Every Barcelona MotoGP sprint lead crash explained

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Only four riders crashed out of MotoGP’s Barcelona sprint race by themselves. But three of them did so while leading the race.

Trackhouse Aprilia's Raul Fernandez was breaking away towards a potential maiden win when he hit the deck on the fifth lap, and two laps later KTM's Brad Binder did the same, just as it looked like he had taken total control of the race.

Instead, champion Pecco Bagnaia made his breakaway - then crashed out in the same place as Binder on the final lap, denying himself what would've been a first sprint win since August last year.

Let's break down what happened with each of the three.

Fernandez laments "stupid mistake"

Raul Fernandez Trackhouse Aprilia Barcelona MotoGP sprint 2024

Of the trio, Fernandez - a third-year MotoGP rider who has never finished a sprint higher than ninth - was the most clear on what exactly had gone wrong and the most clear on it being his fault.

Seen disconsolate in the gravel in the moments after his crash, Fernandez admitted he was "crying like a baby" in the aftermath once he arrived to his pit garage.

"Honestly, I want to say sorry to the team," he said.

"I did a very stupid mistake. I felt super comfortable today, I felt like I had it all under control."

The crash came at the hard braking of Turn 10, and Fernandez deemed it a consequence of him trying to "compensate" for a loss of time in the previous corner.

He went in, felt he was going wide but tried to make the corner anyway - and fell off.

"It was 100% my mistake. Maybe in that moment, just in that moment, the ambition was too much because I didn't want to lose too much time. 

"But this is part of the game."

Raul Fernandez Pedro Acosta Barcelona MotoGP sprint 2024

Despite his crash, Fernandez - on a 2023 Aprilia that won here last year but has generally looked a step behind the newer version in 2024 - took a lot of encouragement from his performance, which he said had been spurred by an Aprilia-assisted change to the electronics set-up after Friday.

He also pointed out that the race had caught out the likes of Bagnaia and Binder.

"It is not an excuse - but it is the reality, the real life. It is a difficult category, it is not easy. But I think we are on a good way."

Binder regrets 'trying to ride clean'

Brad Binder KTM Barcelona MotoGP sprint 2024

Binder's exit from the lead means he has not scored points in a sprint since the Qatar opener, in a campaign in which he's so far repeatedly hampered himself with badly-timed crashes.

"That's the thing, I sat down earlier and I was thinking about it and I'm like 'f**k, why can I not stay on?',” he reflected.

“The reality is, when I fell off today, I felt like I was so calm and not trying to do anything crazy, just trying to have my own race. 

"More than anything, I just haven't quite put everything together. I feel like I just need the penny to drop and we'll be OK."

The performance was clearly there and, like Fernandez, Binder hinted he wasn't necessarily trying to make a break for it when he "messed up".

"I just washed the front, didn't really get any warning, just maybe a little bit straighter than the lap before.

"I was trying to ride clean. And I probably shouldn't have done that. Because it looks like I was backing it in [sliding] quite a lot less than I normally do. And obviously it puts the weight a little bit in a different place, and I just washed the front."

The crash came at Turn 5, where Binder "hadn't had a moment all weekend".

"Clearly it is one of those corners... Everybody knows it's a bit sketchy."

"It's a little bit downhill, almost a little bit off-camber when you try to come back."

Bagnaia irritated by grip level

Five laps after Binder, Bagnaia - who already on Friday made it clear he saw the track as being in dire need of resurfacing - also experienced just how "sketchy" Turn 5 can be.

"I waited a lot, I waited for the bike in the box, and I just stayed in the box for one hour to analyse everything. Because... when you can't understand properly why you crashed, it's better to analyse everything," he said. 

"And it looks like entering [the corner] slower, the same brakes [pressure], makes you crash. Normally, in a normal condition, that can't happen - but here the grip level is a disaster, [so] it can happen."

Bagnaia said he was "cruising", with a lot of tyre life saved up and a significant late-race pace advantage over his direct rivals - and dismissed the suggestion it was any lack of focus.

"I was 100% focused. I know how to win. And it was my kind of win - because I was controlling everything perfectly, I was with much tyres, I was with much pace. 

"So I was doing everything perfect. And it's very curious, when you look at my data, and you see the moment of the crash, it's really strange to see a crash in this kind of situation.

"But it was really strange today that all the riders that were leading crashed."

He described it as "another great opportunity lost" for himself, and insisted the grand prix on Sunday would be first and foremost a must-finish - with Barcelona having also bit him last year, with a Sunday high-side causing a bad (yet somehow lucky) leg injury that nearly jeopardised his title run.

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