Photography by Gold & Goose
Though his rivals were likely hoping for two penalty points that would have forced him to start Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix from the back of the grid, Marc Marquez has been given a single penalty point for his involvement in his teammate Dani Pedrosa crashing out of the Grand Prix of Aragon two weeks ago.
The single penalty point now gives Marquez three on the season (two from Silverstone and one from Aragon). If he earns a total of four at any point during the season, he will be assessed the penalty of starting the race from the back of the grid.
Marquez braked too late for turn 12 during the Grand Prix of Aragon and clipped the rear of Pedrosa’s Honda before running off track. That severed the rear-wheel speed sensor on Pedrosa’s Honda, which in turn debilitated his traction control. When the Spaniard opened the throttle, he was promptly highsided, crashing out of the race and ruining any chance he had to earn this year’s MotoGP World Championship. Marquez rebounded from the off-track excursion, eventually caught early leader Jorge Lorenzo and won the Grand Prix.
At first the incident was put down as racing accident but – after reviewing the technical data – Race Direction found that both Marquez and HRC, more so, were responsible for the crash. So Marquez was given the penalty point and HRC was docked 25 points from the manufacturers’ championship. They will still get the 13 points that Alvaro Bautista scored in the GP, however.
Of course, the Hondas showed up at Sepang this week with a carbon fiber plate protecting the rear-wheel speed sensor to prevent an incident like this from occurring again.
“In the end we need to respect that decision,” Marquez said in today’s pre-race press conference in advance of this weekend’s Grand Prix of Malaysia. “We are ready and I want to be concentrated on this weekend. It will be interesting to see the track and my riding style, because my first real MotoGP test was here and now things have changed with the electronics and so on.”
When asked if the penalty will change his approach to racing he added: “I will not change.”
Pedrosa refused to comment on the situation.
“About today: no comment. I have no comment because it is something between Race Direction and Marc. I am only a side effect of what happened in Aragon… physically I have had a hard week. I started to improve at the end of last week, but I actually started to feel a bit better than I am now. I will see how the physical condition is tomorrow.”
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo didn’t let the issue go away as easily.
“The Jerez action was a great show, and Silverstone, and Laguna when he [Marquez] passed Valentino [Rossi] outside of the track was a great show, so I think they should encourage that type of action to make an example to the young riders… I think they are wrong [about the one penalty point]. They have too many penalties. They should have given him one more point in the championship!”