Home star Oliveira was carried away on a stretcher, prompting red flags to be thrown, but was then seen standing with marshals and chatting to Lecuona. Oliveira was later given the all-clear, albeit with a precautionary trip to hospital.
The top KTM rider in qualifying, Lecuona had gained three places for seventh on the opening lap, but then began making mistakes and struggling with the front of his RC16, dropping as low as 13th.
Recovering his speed, the Spaniard passed Oliveira for eighth on lap 21 of the planned 25, before the Portuguese struck back. It was while trying a repeat of the earlier pass that Lecuona lost the front of his Tech3 machine on a bump and brought down Oliveira.
“This morning I felt really good like all the weekend but during the race I had a lot of problems to stop the bike and after 10 laps I started to struggle with the front tyre, locking a lot. I saved 3-4 crashes,” Lecuona said.
“But also I felt confident to fight for the top ten. I made a lot of mistakes so I lost the opportunity to fight with the top group, but I knew I could still do a good result.
“Then with Miguel we fight a lot, also with Brad, with Bastia, but when I tried to overtake him I lost the front on a small bump, I couldn’t save it, crashed and then my bike hit him.
“Two laps before, I overtook him in the same point. I overtook four more riders in the same point. So it’s somewhere I felt strong.
“Maybe it’s true that after a lot of laps and a lot of mistakes with the front it was not the best moment, but I did the same as the laps before. I cannot tell you I braked 10 metres later because it’s not true. But for sure it’s my fault.
“I was with Miguel afterwards, I said ‘sorry’ and asked him ‘do you have any [physical] problems?’ He said to me ‘don’t worry’. I watched him walk, so I think he is fine.”
Oliveira wasn’t the only rider to tangle with Lecuona. Pol Espargaro had been forced off track early in the race and felt Lecuona had been ‘too excited’.
“Unluckily, it compromised everything,” Espargaro said of the incident. “I was just behind Alex [Marquez, in fifth], I thought I could fight for the podium, I was strong. But I think today Iker was over excited. I can understand in some ways, he’s almost at the end of his MotoGP career at the moment. Plus he’s young, he’s done a great weekend, and he was overexcited today.
“I paid for that a little. So when Iker ran out, he pushed me out and I lost places to Iker, the two satellite Ducatis, and Fabio. Four riders overtook me just like that.”
But the Factory KTM team couldn’t feel too aggrieved by Lecuona’s mistake given one of their riders had taken out the other Tech3 KTM of Danilo Petrucci on the opening lap.
“I have really no words, because it’s the second time in a row that another rider took me out of the race. This time, it was even a KTM. I don’t know if it was Brad or Miguel, but the result is the same,” Petrucci said.
“I did four corners and crashed without any fault by myself. This was the second time in two races and the fourth time this year. It’s really bad luck, as we have been truly in good shape this time.”
Brad Binder, the rider who looked to be alongside Petrucci at the time of his fall, was thus the only KTM rider credited with finishing, in tenth place.