Hondas Espargaro had a big moment exiting the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane on the first lap of Sunday’s 27-lap Le Mans race, which cost him speed and forcing Morbidelli to take the next corner.
But Espargaro braked hard on the next corner to overtake Valentino Rossi’s other Petronas SRT Yamaha, with Morbidelli being forced to sit up after contact and run into the gravel where he fell.
Espargaro believes that only Morbidelli was to blame for the clash, despite branding it as a “racing incident”.
“Well the problem is Morbidelli comes in too hot and just made one braking mistake and he got me out,” said Espargaro.
“I have Valentino outside, I turned Valentino off. Actually, I found Valentino here in the paddock, we talked briefly and he agreed with me.
“But it is actually clear that Franco braked too late and had contact with me, and I had contact with Valentino.
“It’s something that can happen in races.
“It’s a racing incident, but we can’t overlook who started all the action and who touched another driver, which in this case Morbidelli braked too late.”
When Espargaro’s comments were relayed to Morbidelli by Motorsport.com, the Italian replied, “I think the blame must be shared because when I saw that Pol had the moment, I immediately thought he was out.
“So I overtook him just because I had a lot more speed and went inside and after that moment I thought that he would have taken the next corner a little more carefully.
“Instead, after that moment, he was really good and aggressive to try and attack Vale right away, and I wasn’t expecting that.
“I just hit him in the rear and ended up off the track and couldn’t control the bike. In my opinion that is the incident. “