Miller: Espargaro 'extremely rude' after Jerez clash

'He was expecting an apology. An apology for what? I was the one walking down pit lane' - Jack Miller.
Miller: Espargaro 'extremely rude' after Jerez clash

Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro continue to hold opposing views over their late-race clash at Jerez.

At Le Mans on Thursday, Miller said that the Aprilia rider had been 'extremely rude' on the flight home from the Jerez test:

"He said quite clearly ‘you deserved to crash’. If that's the way he feels, it's great to see we have a good sportsman like that in the paddock."

Espargaro stood by his comments, insisting there was no space for Miller's move and that he was lucky not to have been injured - both by the contact itself and damage to his tyre, possibly from the Australian's winglet.

Miller had been struggling with front grip problems when Espargaro passed him for tenth place into the final turn, but appeared to run slightly wide. The Pramac Ducati rider tried to cut back inside only for the pair to clash as their lines came together, leaving Miller on the ground while Espargaro lost a place to Stefan Bradl.

"He was extremely rude on the plane flying home, saying things like 'I deserved to crash' and stuff like this. It's unnecessary," Miller said. "He said I needed to come and apologise to him. I said it was a racing incident.

"He said he was on the inside. He wasn't. When you look back at the pictures he ran wide and all I did was try to follow my line around and it's a gap. I'm going to go for a gap, I'm a racer. He continued to turn. Whether or not he saw my wheel I don't know, but anyway it's what it was.

"But finally I crashed, so he was expecting an apology. An apology for what? I crashed. I was the one walking down pit lane.

"I didn't really feel that was necessary and when I said to him I was the one that crashed, he said to me quite clearly back ‘you deserved to crash’. So if that's the way he feels, it's great to see we have a good sportsman like that in the paddock."

While adamant there was no space to try and pass, Espargaro also revealed he was lucky to reach the finish due to the tyre damage.

"No, there was no space. I saw [the incident] now many times," he said. "Also I had a cut in the tyre. I don't know exactly if he cut my tyre with his winglet, but I was very lucky that the tyre didn't explode. When Michelin saw it they didn't understand how I finished the race with that cut.

"There was no space. I was on the white line. If there was space he wouldn't have crashed. Because as soon as he put the bike inside I picked up my bike and he crashed anyway. So it means there was no space.

"If I held the line and we had crashed, I would understand. But as soon as I saw him I picked up the bike straight and he crashed anyway. So there was no space.

"I was just a half-second from Nakagami and Crutchlow to fight for eighth place, but then Stefan passed me and I finished in eleventh.

"So I was very angry and, as I have a good relations with him, I was expecting that he would come - not straight after the race but maybe two hours later or Monday - and say ‘hey mate, sorry I thought there was space’. Okay, no problem. Race incident.

"He didn’t do anything and then when I saw him on the plane I said, ‘what happened mate?’ He said, ‘What happened? I crashed’. I said, ‘Yeah, and… Anyway, there was no space. You crashed because you deserved to crash.' "

Espargaro was also upset at Race Direction, feeling at least a warning should have been given.

"What makes me super angry is that the penalty has to be for the action, not for the consequence. If I had crashed and broken my collarbone, Jack would have a big penalty. I'm fully confident of this," he said.

"I didn't crash because I was super lucky, and he crashed - I've never seen the guy inside crash. It was just luck. No penalty. But the action was the same. So this was what made me very angry.

"For me it was more than a racing incident… At least a warning. 

"I didn't crash but the move was super aggressive and more than a normal overtake."