After the encouraging race at Phillip Island, reality slapped Aprilia in the face at the Malaysian Grand Prix. While Andrea Iannone crashed out, Aleix Espargaro was left to fly the flag in Sepang to finish in a lowly 13th.
His day got even worse, which was after the race ended, as he got involved in a controversial crash. In the pit lane, the Spaniard collided with a photographer who was standing right in Espargaro’s trajectory.
As per protocol, Aleix Espargaro turned towards the Gresini box in the pits. Unfortunately, he did not see the photographer, who was obscured from his field of vision by another photographer. The Aprilia MotoGP rider reacted, but was not quick enough to prevent a collision. With the bike damaged, the visibly irritated rider returned to the pits on foot after a brief check
The mechanics took over the fallen RS-GP and brought the bike with slight damage in the box. Luckily, the photographer survived the collision with the MotoGP bike appearing unharmed and did not fall. His equipment should have survived the incident, however, less unscathed. In the video you can see how the lens of the camera dissolves and bangs on the asphalt.
Naturally, a number of journalists laid the blame on the 30-year old Spaniard for the crash. However, he has since defended himself saying on Twitter, “Madre Mia! you have to be ignorant for saying such a barbarity like that … I was going at 30kmh at most and I turn there because my box is there, these people CANNOT be in the middle of the pitlane, it is forbidden, and obviously I do not see him, or do you think What hit him for fun? You have no idea of motorcycles!”
Normally, When a vehicle enters pitlane, the team warn any non-racing personnel via speakers. So, the journalists and photographers are responsible for where they are positioned. Especially in a dangerous sport, there is a need to prioritise safety first and not bother even rider, neither mechanics nor commissioners.