Bradley Smith has been handed a three-place grid penalty for his next MotoGP outing after the Aprilia test rider took out factory rider Aleix Espargaro on the opening laps of the Catalan Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Brit had enjoyed a good start, before suffering a highside at turn ten. His bike hit the helpless Espargaro, and despite the Spaniard remaining on his bike, Espargaro came into the pits, before being helped off his bike by his crew members with a knee issue. Espargaro was taken to hospital for scans, which came back with a diagnosis of a bone edema on his left knee.
Smith was apologetic to his team-mate, wishing Espargaro a quick recovery.
“I’m sorry about what happened today, even more so because Aleix was involved,” said the Brit.
“Unfortunately, in that braking section the situation was a bit chaotic, as often happens during the first laps. I hope he will have a quick recovery. Right now, we need to work with our full potential to develop the RS-GP.”
Smith’s three-place grid penalty is to be served in his next wild-card appearance, currently due to take place at the Czech Grand Prix in Brno. However, Smith could be down to replace Espargaro should scans show further injuries when he returns to hospital for further scans tomorrow.