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Marquez: MotoGP penalty debacle "was not my fault"

Marc Marquez says the protracted penalty debacle he was involved in following the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix “was not my fault”, as he reacted to the punishment being annulled.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The eight-time world champion was handed a double long lap penalty for colliding with Miguel Oliveira at the opening grand prix of the year in Portugal.

This penalty was to be served at the Argentina GP, as deemed by the FIM stewards in writing and verbally to Marquez, but was later applied to the next round the Honda rider participated in after withdrawing from the Rio Hondo event with injury.

Honda appealed this as it felt it went against the regulations, with the FIM Court of Appeal issuing a final verdict of annulment on the punishment on Tuesday prior to the French GP.

Reacting to this on Thursday at Le Mans, Marquez said: “I mean, for me it’s normal. When I received that penalty, the rules… now they have changed.

“But when I received that penalty, when I went to the stewards I completely agreed to receive that because it was a big mistake, and on paper and when we speak it was for the Argentina GP.

“Then after two days, somebody changed it – I don’t know who – and that’s not my fault.

“Now it looks like they will change it for the future, which I don’t think is the best solution because changing that rule will create some things that for the riders we will take more risk, because for me it was easy to come to Jerez, take the penalty and stop in the box. This we need to avoid.”

Marquez is referring to an undated penalty protocol that was issued to all teams and riders on 30 March, two days after the stewards revised the Spaniard’s punishment, which states: “if the rider does not participate at the next even due to a subsequent and unrelated injury or illness (not suffered during the incident itself), then the penalty is deemed to have been served and does not get postponed to subsequent events.”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

That protocol says this is to stop riders starting a race just to serve a penalty, thus causing danger to their competitors, but Marquez thinks the opposite will happen.

“I read that they changed the penalty you receive will be for the next race that you race, if you don’t get injured [from the incident you are penalised for],” he added.

“But for me this will only create a situation like we had in the past, for example when [Luca] Marini did it in Moto2.

“It’s normal, it will create a situation where the riders are forced to come back and it will create a bad image because we will make the penalty and we will stop in the box and that’s it. So, they need to find another system.”

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Marquez’s penalty annulment comes as the riders and stewards are set for a crunch meeting this weekend to discuss the inconsistencies in stewarding this season.

Asked by Autosport if he has trust in the stewarding process after what happened with his penalty, he replied: “I don’t know. It’s what I explained. I received the penalty in Portimao GP, that obviously was completely understood and I accepted because I did a mistake.

“But it was for the Argentina GP, and it was on the paper that I signed, and then I asked to the stewards again, "was this for the Argentina GP", and they said yes.

“Then I had the surgery, but for some reason somebody changed this. This was not my mistake.

“But believe me, the worse penalty was being at home for three races in a row. It’s the worst penalty an athlete can get.”

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