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Marquez MotoGP penalty annulled by FIM Court of Appeal

Marc Marquez will not have to serve the penalty he received for a collision in the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix after it was annulled by the FIM Court of Appeal.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Miguel Oliveira, RNF MotoGP Racing

The Honda rider collided with RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira at the opening grand prix of the season, for which he was given a double long lap penalty by the FIM stewards.

He was originally given the penalty for the Argentina GP, as per the FIM stewards’ notice, but soon after this was issued he withdrew from the event following surgery on a broken thumb.

The FIM subsequently re-issued its penalty, changing the wording to note that Marquez would have to serve it at the next round in which he participated.

Honda felt this change to the application of the penalty went against the regulations and lodged a protest with the stewards.

This was heard on the Thursday of the Argentina GP, before being referred to the FIM Court of Appeal.

Prior to the Spanish GP, the FIM Court of Appeal issued a stay of execution on the penalty while the matter was dealt with further – meaning, had Marquez been fit to race at Jerez, he would not have had to serve the punishment.

Now, well over a month after the incident, the FIM Court of Appeal has annulled the penalty as it feels his injury layoff – which has seen Marquez miss three rounds – has been punishment enough.

Miguel Oliveira, RNF MotoGP Racing, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team crash

Miguel Oliveira, RNF MotoGP Racing, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

A statement from the FIM read: “Following the provisional decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal pronounced on 12 April 2023 granting the stay of execution of the Application of the Sanction imposed on Marc Marquez, the Court still had to decide on the merits of the case considering inter alia the brief of appeal submitted by Marc Marquez and Team HRCRepsol Honda Team on 17 April 2023.

“The Court decided to annul the Application of the Sanction imposed on Marc Marquez, which was issued by the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel in connection with the original sanction.

“The Court considered that the Double Long Lap Penalty imposed on Marc Marquez by the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel during the MotoGP Race of Portugal held on 26 March 2023 has been served by the non-participation of the Rider in the 2023 MotoGP Race of Argentina.

“Marc Marquez is hence allowed to compete in the next race in which he will be able to participate, without any further sanction.”

The full breakdown of the case by the FIM states the stewards told Marquez that his penalty would be deemed served if he was to miss Argentina due to injury, after he was told the punishment was only applicable to the Argentina GP during a meeting after his incident in Portugal.

That meeting took place on 26 March, the day of the Portuguese GP, while the revised penalty notice was issued on 28 March. On 29 March, Honda appealed the penalty on legal grounds.

On 30 March, an undated penalties protocol document was issued to all teams and riders outlining that only injuries and illness “unrelated” to an incident in question would lead to a punishment being deemed as served.

Marc Marquez, Respol Honda with a bandage

Marc Marquez, Respol Honda with a bandage

Photo by: Oriol Puigdemont

The full protocol reads: “The philosophy that the FIM MotoGP Stewards follow for the application of a penalty is that penalties must be effective and that the rider must serve the penalty at the next event of the championship where the rider participates in, even if it’s at the next season of the championship.

“However, if the rider does not participate at the next even due to a subsequent and unrelated (this part is emboldened and underlined in the document) injury of illness (not suffered during the incident itself), then the penalty is deemed to have been served and does not get postponed to subsequent events.

“Medical judgements are and must continue to be independent from disciplinary decisions.

“This exception for unrelated illness or injury is for two reasons; the FIM MotoGP Stewards deem that missing a race is a higher penalty imposed (e.g. long lap), and to avoid the situation that happened many times in the past where a rider started a race while injured with the sole purpose of completing the penalty, there by endangering themselves and other.”

Taking all of the above into consideration, the Court of Appeal felt Marquez and Honda withdrew from Argentina “in good faith” based on what they were told by the FIM stewards regarding the penalty.

While the penalties protocol was seen as useful for future incident by the Court, it ultimately decided what Marquez and Honda were originally told – and which was written by the stewards on 26 March – should have stood.

Honda is yet to react to the news, nor has it said whether Marquez will compete in this weekend’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans.

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