Keith Huewen: ‘Marc Marquez will do whatever it takes’

Marc Marquez’s roller-coaster weekend at the Portimao season-opener is among the topics on this week’s MotoGP podcast with Keith Huewen.
Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez crash, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 26 March
Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez crash, MotoGP race, Portuguese MotoGP, 26…

The eight-time world champion stunned by dragging his Repsol Honda to pole position on Saturday, with the aid of a tow from Enea Bastianini, then snatched a podium on the last lap of MotoGP’s first-ever Sprint race.

But while Marquez was on course to fight for another rostrum on Sunday, he made a ‘big mistake’ under braking on lap 3 - clipping Jorge Martin, then slamming into the side of home star Miguel Oliveira.

Marquez and Oliveira will both miss this weekend’s Argentine round due to their injuries, while Martin – whose victory chances were also ruined - suffered foot damage.

Although Marquez accepted the double long-lap penalty handed down by the FIM Stewards, the wording of the penalty suggested it would only apply to Argentina.

The news that Marquez will miss Argentina then prompted a further FIM statement (now contested by Repsol Honda) declaring that Marquez will need to serve his double long lap at the next event he participates in.

“Marquez was on a mission all weekend,” said former grand prix podium finisher and British champion Huewen. “When he stuck the Honda on pole, my eyes were as wide as saucers.

“He's a brilliant rider and could get away with unbelievable things in the past, but I’m just questioning whether he has lost a tiny bit of that magic?

“But Marc Marquez is ruthless. He will do whatever it takes to get himself where he needs to be. That's what's slightly scary about Marc. And that's what keeps everybody on edge around him.

“Marc knows the Honda isn't the best bike at the moment and he’s shown no shame when it comes to doing things that people might say is ungentlemanly, like being dragged around [by a tow] in qualifying.

“The incident with Oliveira was 100% a penalty. He was already out of control on the opening lap. He just looked to me like he was struggling a bit with the front end and then got in there a bit hot and couldn't scrub the speed off.

“Once you've gone further up the track than you should have done, you can't slow down any more because you're already using the absolute maximum of braking grip.

“Was the penalty he got enough? I don't think it's going to make any difference anyway. I think we're in the same situation with these guys now, as we were with Moto3 a few years back.

“You can penalise them; you can give them long laps, you can make them start from pit lane. It's not going to make any difference at this point. The bikes are so close now that everyone knows what they've got to do in those early laps to give themselves a chance later on.”’s MotoGP editor Pete McLaren, who was present in Portimao, said:

“Marquez looked shocked when he spoke to the media after the Oliveira incident, not only because he had injured another rider through his own ‘big mistake’ but also perhaps because he had let a golden opportunity slip away.

“Without that incident, Marquez could easily have left Portimao holding second in the world championship - who would have imagined that going into the weekend?

“Instead, after a podium in the Sprint, he’s already 30 points down on Bagnaia and is now going to miss a race weekend through injury for the fourth season in a row. That could potentially cost him another 37 points, plus whatever any penalty costs him at COTA.”

Marquez and Oliveira join Bastianini and Pol Espargaro on the absent-through-injury list for round two.

“I kind of feel like we're overreacting a little bit in terms of the Portugal weekend as a whole,” Huewen said. “Everybody was on edge, everybody was going for it. Portugal is a difficult race track., The wind had changed as well on the Sunday, which brings another element into it. You've got more fuel on than you had for the Sprint race.

“I feel it will settle down, but maybe not until we get back to Europe. Argentina this weekend is on a track without any testing and it’s usually filthy at the start of the weekend, then improves with each session. So it’s going to be another tricky one.”

Huewen, McLaren and Podcast host Harry Benjamin also debate the safety of the Sprint race format, other riders to shine in Portimao, Moto2 and Moto3, plus predictions for this weekend’s event in Argentina.

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