Watch MotoGP star Aleix Espargaro throw away podium spot after celebrating a lap EARLY in epic Catalan GP gaffe
A MONUMENTAL error cost MotoGP star Aleix Espargaro a place on the podium during Sunday's Catalan GP.
The Aprilia racing driver was battling Fabio Quartararo for the top spot when he suddenly began to slow down with only a lap to go.
The Spaniard proceeded to wave to the crowd – oblivious to the fact that the race was still going on.
And by the time he realised that he still had one lap remaining, he had slipped out of the podium places and down to fifth.
Espargaro's pit team looked on in disbelief as they watched him accidentally throw away a crucial podium place.
The Spaniard was then seen in tears as he came to terms with the costly error, but his team quickly rallied in support.
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When speaking about the incident after the race, Espargaro said: "It was my fault, I did a big mistake.
"The first thing is to say sorry to my team.
"I had no time to see the lap and so I watched the tower. It was my mistake.
"I have to watch my people, not the tower."
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Monster Energy Yamaha driver Quartararo went on to win the race, extending his lead at the top of the MotoGP Riders standings to 22 points.
The action-packed Catalan GP was filled with drama from the start.
Takaaki Nakagami was lucky to escape serious injury when his helmet completely shattered during a collision with Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins.
The LCR Honda racer lost control before falling off his bike at the first corner.
He slid into the rear wheel of Bagnaia and violently hit his head before flying into the path of Rins, taking him out in the process.
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Nakagami and Rins both flew into the gravel on the side of the track as a result.
Both drivers were conscious after the accident, but they were sent to the medical centre and the hospital as a precaution.
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