By Rod Hanrick
Moto2 World Championship contender Marc Marquez was forced to sit out the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix after a heavy accident, caused when marshals failed to warn of a wet surface at the start of FP1.
The Spaniard also missed FP2 due to injuries sustained in the crash, but is in doubt for Saturday morning's FP3 session.
Marquez had yet to complete his first lap before a big highside at turn 10. The unexpected conditions also claimed Jules Cluzel and Bradley Smith, the Frenchman lucky to escape injury, although Smith was not so fortunate, suffering a broken left collarbone.
Riders were unaware of recent localised rain on the sweeping right-hand turn, since no warnings were shown by marshals.
CatalunyaCaixa Repsol team manager Emilio Alzamora reported on the star rookie's condition, “The marshals had not signalled that there was an area of the circuit that was completely wet… he [Marquez] suffered a heavy crash and several contusions, one of them in the neck. He was a bit dizzy and we saw that he was not at 100% to get on the bike.
“Also with the heat we have here in Malaysia the best thing to do was to get back to the hotel. He has been given some medication to allow him to rest and tomorrow we will see how he feels or if he has more pain".
Three points separate Marquez and title leader Stefan Bradl and with only two races remaining, today's crash couldn't have come at a worse time for the Spaniard. Bradl wasted no time in capitalising on his opponent's mistake, posting the fastest time of the day.
Race Direction handed down a 15,000 euro fine to the Malaysian GP organiser due to the irresponsible behaviour of the marshals.