Marc Marquez received a one-point penalty for the Aragon incident with Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
A press release posted on MotoGP.com explains the penalty for Marquez, with Race Director Mike Webb quoted: “We are sending a message to Marc, very clearly, that we understand that he is an extremely talented rider but he is also intelligent enough to understand that there has to be some margin for error – especially, as we have seen a number of times this year, under braking when the rider behind has the responsibility of not getting too close to the rider in front who is riding his own lines.”
Marquez previously received two penalty points for his actions at Silverstone, where he did not slow down in the pre-race warm-up despite caution flags from a crash by Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow. Shortly afterward the MotoGP rookie crashed in the same area where Crutchlow fell, causing marshals to flee the incoming Honda. Had Marquez received two penalty points for the Aragon incident, his four-point season total would have necessitated starting from the back of the grid for the next race.
The penalty of the Marquez/Pedrosa incident made for a tense press conference kicking off this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.
“In the end we need to respect that decision,” said Marquez of the Race Direction verdict. But the point’s leader also followed up by saying of the penalty: “In the end, I will be the same.”
Jorge Lorenzo was not so forgiving. The defending MotoGP champion and Marquez’s closest rival in the 2013 title chase groused at the one-point penalty during the press conference stating: “For me it wasn’t fair, one point in the license. For me the right thing is to put one point in the championship. Because like this the other riders of Moto3 and Moto2 get example from this riding style and they can do the same. We can have a better show in our sport, because the safety of the riders doesn’t matter so much. The important thing is the spectators, and the spectators enjoy the show.”
The sarcasm continued, with Lorenzo highlighting Marquez’s controversial maneuvers this year: “The Jerez action was a great show. Looking at the marshals running like chickens in Silverstone was a great show. In Laguna Seca he went through Valentino outside of the track was a great show too, so I think they should incentivize that type of action to make an example to the young riders.”
Lorenzo’s critique about rider safety carries extra weight at Sepang, the sight of Marco Simoncelli’s death in 2011. Simoncelli, like Marquez, generated considerable controversy including Race Direction scrutiny, as well as criticism from Lorenzo and other prominent GP riders, for his aggressive racing style.