As speculated Sunday in Grandstand, Aprilia factory rider Alvaro Bautista confirmed that defending world champion Marc Marquez collided with him in turn 6 of the first lap, damaging his bike so severely that he was forced to retire.
Discussing his race retirement, Bautista claimed that as he negotiated the corner full of competitors, Marquez barreled into him. “Marquez got off to a bad start and he wanted to make up positions quickly, but without considering the fact that there were other riders on the track,” Bautista said.
“He has been too aggressive in the past in these types of situations.”
Watching the race live on MotoGP.com, Grandstand witnessed the incident, and footage of Bautista’s stricken Aprilia limping along the last few turns before entering the pit lane revealed what looked like long cables and a brake line dangling from the left side, the same side Marquez passed beside.
“Today I was lucky because I didn’t crash, but it doesn’t take much to get hurt out there”
Qatar was the first MotoGP race for Aprilia since 2004, when the brand left the top category. Aprilia is however, one of the most successful brands in motorcycle road racing with 23 road racing world championships in the 125cc, 250cc and World Superbike classes, and at least as many again in national championships.