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Marquez Penalized for Aragon MotoGP Incident

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Race Direction has issued Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez one penalty point to for his Aragon GP collision with teammate Dani Pedrosa. Slight contact between the Repsol Hondas, instigated by Marquez on Lap 6 of the race, severed a traction control wire on Pedrosa’s RC213V resulting in a crash and DNF result for Pedrosa. Race Direction’s decision also penalizes Honda for the incident, taking away the 25 points in the Constructors’ Championship that Marquez earned with his Aragon victory.
Marc Marquez came in third on Day 1 of testing at Jerez.
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.

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bradvanhorn   October 11, 2013 10:39 AM
I'm not particularly passionate on the topic of racing penalties, although I think the concept is appropriate. This said, a one point penalty for Marquez seems pretty trivial. I had a random thought a year or two ago regarding consequences for aggressive rider action. It went roughly like this: race however you like, make all the contact you want, stuff people in the corner, whatever; however, if your action directly contributes to another rider being forced off track or to crash then you cannot place ahead of that rider in the final race results. So making use of the circumstances for this recent incident for Marquez: he wanted the line, was willing to hit Pedrosa to get it, Pedrosa crashed out as a result, so at the end Marquez would get a DNF rather than a win. That'd create some incentive to carefully weigh your actions. Riders would know upfront, be as aggressive as you want, but know it won't payoff if you screw over another rider in the process. I thought a similar sort of rule in car racing (which I don't pay much attention to anyway) would be similarly appropriate. Bump and grind all you like but if it leads to the other guy crashing then you're out to.