Marc Marquez penalty twist: Repsol Honda appeal FIM 'modification'

The aftermath of Marc Marquez’s collision with Miguel Oliveira in Sunday's Portimao MotoGP season opener has taken another twist.
Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez crash, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 26 March
Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez crash, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 26…

The Repsol Honda star wiped out home hero Oliveira from second place, and also caused injury to Jorge Martin, when he lost control of his RC213V in the braking zone for the turn 3 hairpin, on lap 3.

Immediately afterwards, the FIM Stewards handed Marquez a double long-lap penalty ‘to be served in the MotoGP race at the Gran Premio Michelin de la Republica Argentina’, this weekend.

The eight-time world champion accepted the penalty, conceding that he had made a ‘big mistake’ and apologised to Oliveira and his RNF team.

But with Marquez (like Oliveira) subsequently announced as missing Argentina due to injuries from the collision, the wording of the sanction - naming a specific event for the double long lap, rather than just Marquez's 'next race' - suggested the penalty would not be carried over.

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Then, on Tuesday, the FIM issued a statement to ‘clarify’ the ‘application of the sanction’, insisting the double long-lap would need to be served even if Marquez misses Argentina:

“Considering the injury and non-participation of Marc Marquez, at the Gran Premio Michelin de la Republica Argentina, and with a view to comply with the intention underlying the decision by the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel, the Double Long Lap Penalty shall be served by the Rider at the next MotoGP Race in which he will be able to participate.”

But the Repsol Honda team has now struck back, arguing that such a ‘modification… is not in line with the current regulations of the FIM for the MotoGP World Championship’ and has submitted an appeal:

“In relation to the sanction imposed by the FIM on Marc Marquez for the race incident that occurred at the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda Team considers that the modification of the penalty consisted of a change of criteria on when the penalty should be applied, and that this modification was issued by the FIM two days after the initial sanction was final and definitive, is not in line with the current regulations of the FIM for the MotoGP World Championship.

“For this reason, the Repsol Honda Team intends to use all the means of recourse offered by the regulations in force to defend its rights and legitimate interests, which it considers violated as a result of the latest resolution adopted, and in particular has duly submitted an Appeal before the FIM Appeal Stewards.”

Without Sunday's error Marquez, who finished third in the Sprint, would probably have left Portimao second in the world championship behind only double-winner Francesco Bagnaia, after a weekend that saw Bagnaia's team-mate Enea Bastianini injured on Saturday and other favourites such as Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro absent from the top five in both races.

Instead, already 30-points from reigning champion Bagnaia, missing Argentina due to a hand fracture means Marquez - like Oliveira, who suffered tendon damage to his leg - will now lose out on a potential 37 points this weekend, with 12 available for winning the new Sprint, plus 25 for victory in Sunday's main race.

As well as Marquez, Oliveira and Bastianini, Tech3's Pol Espargaro will also miss Argentina due to injuries sustained in Portugal. 

The next round after Argentina is COTA, where Marquez has a stunning record of seven wins from nine races, falling from the lead in 2019 and being fast enough to fight for victory last season, only to suffer a start-line issue.

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