On Saturday afternoon in the weekend’s third practice session, Espargaro slapped Morbidelli on his crash helmet after the pair came together at Turn 6 while the former was attempting an overtake.
Espargaro was handed a six-place grid penalty for the grand prix and a €10,000 fine, while Morbidelli launched a scathing attack on the Aprilia rider on Saturday evening.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Espargaro said he was “ashamed” of his behaviour, but feels Morbidelli is a repeat offender in getting in riders’ ways on track, highlighting several incidents in Malaysia the week before.
“I said before, [the] first thing is I’m very sorry and ashamed of my outburst for my team and myself,” Espargaro began.
“Obviously, if you just saw the last part of the story I fully accept the responsibility. It was not my idea to punch him or whatever, it was just my idea to make him go away.
“It was my mistake, but in my opinion, it’s not fair just to watch the last five seconds. For me, Franco, it’s one year and a half that he is cruising all around the world on tracks.
“It’s his attitude, he has no respect for anybody. Last race it was with his team-mate, [there was] no penalty.