Iannone disappointed in Smith's "really dangerous" riding

Lewis Duncan

Smith was making his third wildcard race appearance of the 2019 season for Aprilia, and was attempting to move his way up from the last row of the grid when he highsided into Espargaro at Turn 10 on the opening tour.

Espargaro was taken to hospital in Barcelona for checks and was initially diagnosed with bone edema to his left knee, while Smith was hit with a three-place grid penalty for his next scheduled wildcard at Brno.

Further checks have determined Espargaro suffered fractures to his femur and tibia along with knee sprain.

It is understood that Espargaro is set for a follow-up check on Tuesday and is still keen on trying to contest the next MotoGP race at Assen.

Iannone, who finished a season-best 11th in a highly attritional Barcelona race, said Smith also made a hard move on him at Turn 4, and expressed “big disappointment” in the British rider's actions.

“Bradley, I have big disappointment [in] because on the first lap [it] is impossible [that the] test team rider [behave] like this,” Iannone said of Smith's collision with Espargaro.

“And also with me at corner four, really dangerous, and [lucky] I don't crash.

“But in any case, this is an Aprilia problem, and it's important that Aprilia resolve this situation, because the test rider is important for us, to help us to improve the bike - not to fight with us [factory riders].

“For sure the race is the race, but the priority for the factory riders.

“In any case, I talk with Romano [Albesiano, Racing Manager] and Massimo Rivola [Aprilia CEO] and it's important we have a solution for the future, because for us it's important.”

In a team statement, Rivola highlighted Espargaro's injury as “the most pressing issue right now”.

Commenting on the incident, Rivola added: “This is undoubtedly a difficult time for us, and Aleix's injury is the most pressing issue right now.

“He is a supporting pillar of our team, and we hope to see him back in the saddle as soon as possible.

“Even more disappointing is the fact it was Bradley who caused the crash, who is working on developing the bike. These episodes should not occur.”

Espargaro will sit out Monday's post-race test at the Catalunya circuit, while it is unclear yet if he will be able to race at the Dutch TT in a fortnight's time.

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crashes with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crash

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini crash Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Gold and Goose / LAT Images