Pol Espargaro accuses Johann Zarco of deliberate contact in Brno

Pol Espargaro says Johann Zarco deliberately made contact with him in the Czech Republic MotoGP clash that resulted in the KTM rider retiring

Pol Espargaro - KTM Factory Racing

Pol Espargaro has accused Johann Zarco of ‘wanting contact’ in the collision that eliminated him from the Czech Republic MotoGP after seeing a podium and possible victory challenge come to an abrupt end.

Much like eventual winner Brad Binder on the sister KTM, Espargaro was making rapid gains up the lead order when he ran wide into Turn 1, recovering to a late apex only to find ex-KTM team-mate Zarco coming back up the inside on his Avinita Ducati.

The ensuing contact sent Espargaro sliding out into retirement, with Zarco handed a long-lap penalty, which he took quickly to hold onto third position at the chequered flag.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R (2020) Review | Visordown.com

In quotes taken after the race – when emotions were flying high – but aired only recently on the BT Sport MotoGP Facebook page, Espargaro didn’t hold back in accusing Zarco of deliberately causing the accident because he didn’t want him to finish ahead on the podium.

“The crash… Zarco didn’t care about me in that moment, he was just driving and wanted contact, he was looking for it and he pushed me away and made me crash. 

“Race direction saw it in that way so he got the penalty, as the penalty here was not enough he could still have a podium. He made a crash that one guy who would have finished ahead of him, so he wouldn’t be on the podium. For him it was the perfect job.”

Despite Espargaro’s anger, there are many that felt it was a racing incident and decried Zarco being given a penalty as a result, even if it didn’t ultimately affect his result.

Even so, the Frenchman admitted at the time he expected the long lap penalty to come because their contact – though an accident – led to a rider coming off.

“When we had the contact, I wasn’t sure if he crashed but I couldn’t hear him anymore. I was a bit worried because I know the rules are quite strict, but no penalty was coming so I thought I was OK. 

“When I caught Fabio and passed him, then I got the long lap penalty, which was a shame because from third place I thought I’d lose position and it’d be hard to fight for the podium. When no-one overtook me, I got a second wind and it worked well.

“I saw the penalty and I thought I’d do it immediately so I don’t lose concentration and I was surprised to hear I did it amazingly. For me I was expecting guys coming in and I lose two or three positions, but no-one came. It’s the first time I did the whole corner so wide!”