When Marc Marquez backed out of using slick tyres on a damp track during qualifying in Argentina, it was part of a plan to take less risks after 27 falls last season:

"This year I'm trying to avoid the risk, avoid crashing," he said.

The Spaniard was even asked if he was becoming boring and sensible...

No-one asked that question after Sunday's race, where Marquez received three separate penalties in a jaw-dropping sequence of mishaps and controversy...

The Grid incident: Ride-Through Penalty

It all began when Marquez stalled his Repsol Honda upon arriving for the delayed start.

After briefly raising his hand the Spaniard leapt from his machine and managed to bump-start it himself. He then turned the bike around and, after a quick exchange with an official, rode back to his starting place.

However the MotoGP rules state:

"Any rider who stalls his engine on the grid or who has other difficulties must remain on the motorcycle and raise an arm. It is not permitted to attempt to delay the start by any other means" and "Riders must not ride their motorcycles in the opposite direction of the circuit, either on the track or in the pit lane, unless doing so under the direction of an Official."

A ride-through penalty was issued on lap 6 of 24, dropping Marquez from 1st to 19th place, but the Spaniard feels he was given the wrong information by officials on the grid.

"When I arrived on the grid I had a problem with the engine, it stopped," Marquez explained. "I put my hand up, but nobody was there and then I started to push my bike and luckily the bike ran.

"And then I didn't know what I needed to do.

"I know if the bike is off, I need to go off [the grid], but the bike was running and then when the marshal arrived I just ask him - because he is directly connected to Race Direction - 'Pit Lane or Grid?'

"At that time, he didn't know what was going on. Then the marshal took his hands off my bike and I saw another marshal made like this ['thumbs up' gesture]. They started to go away and I just understand [from that] that I needed to go to my grid place.

"Then, we started the race and on my dashboard appeared 'ride-through penalty', something that I didn’t understand because if one marshal says you are allowed, why then say after a few laps you are not allowed and you need to have a ride through?"

The Espargaro Incident: -1 Position Penalty

Charging back through the order, Marquez then barged into Aleix Espargaro at the penultimate turn on lap 9 of 24, resulting in a 'drop one place' penalty.

"I started to push [after the ride-through] and maybe the biggest mistake that I did in this race was with Aleix," he admitted.

"Because I arrived four-seconds faster and I didn’t realise - when you arrive four-seconds faster than the other guys it's quite difficult…

"I tried my 100% to avoid the contact and then I say sorry [with my hand].

"Okay, I receive a penalty. I understand and go back one position and to be safe I went back two positions."

Espargaro later stated he had been hit harder by Danilo Petrucci than by Marquez.

The Rossi Incident: 30-second Penalty

Such was Marquez's pace that he still caught seventh place Valentino Rossi by lap 18, only to shockingly collide with the Italian in a carbon copy of the Espargaro incident.

But while Espargaro stayed upright, Rossi hit the deck after running onto the wet grass.

"With Valentino and I didn’t think I made anything crazy," Marquez said.

"I mean I was in [the corner] you need to understand the track conditions. Of course the line was dry, but I hit a wet patch, locked the front, released the brakes - okay I had the contact [with him], I tried to turn, and then when I saw he crashed I just tried to say sorry [wave].

"But if you check, Zarco with Dani, Petrucci with Aleix… I mean today was quite difficult. But doesn't matter, I did my 100% and of course a tricky Sunday."

Given the history between Marquez and Rossi, it was a stunning chain of events - and a role reversal of their infamous Sepang 2015 collision, with Marquez looking back at his opponent on the ground as he rode away.

Does Marquez fear the incident will reignite all of the controversy?

"Honestly speaking I don't care, I'm just focussed on my box and I know what happened. Of course today I did a few mistakes - a few of those mistakes were from Race Direction and a few were mine. And I recognise and will try to improve for the future.

"I think I did everything well and just I'm very very happy for the race because the pace was very good. But you know about the rest, I just try to focus and push always 100%. Valentino pushes a lot, but he was also in the past 25-years-old and everybody will remember."

The four-time MotoGP champion went on to catch and pass Rossi's team-mate Maverick Vinales for sixth, before being given a 30-second post-race penalty by Race Direction for the Rossi clash, dropping him to 18th.

Rossi remounted to finish in 19th.

Marquez, accompanied by his manager Emilio Alzamora and team boss Alberto Puig, attempted to apologise to Rossi after the race, but were instructed to leave in no uncertain terms by the Italian's entourage.

A furious Rossi later claimed that Marquez has 'destroyed our sport', has 'no respect for our rivals' and makes contact deliberately 'hoping you crash'.

"In my career I never, never, never go straight to one rider thinking that he will crash," responded Marquez. "Always I try to avoid. Of course, sometimes when you overtake it is closer, sometimes it is more clear.

"Today what happened with Valentino was a mistake, a consequence of the track conditions because I locked the front. But, in my career, I think what he says about me is wrong."

Comments

Loading Comments...