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'How is it possible?' - What left Mir angriest after Marquez barge

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Honda MotoGP rider Joan Mir was left none too impressed by being barged out of the way by a recovering Marc Marquez in the Jerez sprint - but most of his irritation was not aimed at Marquez.

Instead, the 2020 champion deemed the penalty handed out to Marquez in-race as being unacceptable and not in line with past precedent.

Marquez was fighting back through the field after crashing out of the lead, and removed Mir from the top 10 with an over-ambitious lunge into the final corner on the ninth lap.

It dropped Mir behind not only Marquez but also Miguel Oliveira and Augusto Fernandez. Marquez then overtook Oliveira, was then ordered to drop one position for his Mir contact, did so (to Oliveira) and then overtook him again to finish an eventual seventh.

An exasperated Mir described the situation as "a bit unfair, honestly". He said he was asking his Honda team "how is this possible?" when pulling up in his pit garage at the end of the race.

Mir was particularly irritated because he'd recalled the long-lap penalty he himself received - for a move that he felt was similar or even less egregious - last year for a coming together with Fabio Quartararo in the sprint at Portimao.

"Similar thing. I braked, Fabio was here, I overtook Fabio, I lost the front, I kicked out Fabio, and then he lost a couple of positions - but I crashed! And for the race on Sunday they gave me a long lap, OK?

"That was the last penalty that I got [so far]. This time - he [Marquez] didn't crash, he hit me out of the track... 'demote one position'. I want to understand, no?"

Marquez, for his part, described the collision with Mir as "my fault" and accepted the penalty - yet his answer made it clear that he saw Mir as partly culpable, or at least believed that his former team-mate hadn't played his part in avoiding the clash.

He felt it was an analogous situation to Brad Binder's overtake on Marquez himself at the same corner on the second lap - except, Marquez insisted, in that case he yielded in picking up his bike and thus avoided a bigger problem.

"Sometimes you need to understand - for example with Binder, I was able to go in and have the contact, but then I knew that I would lose, not only with Binder, but also I would lose more positions," Marquez said.

"So sometimes you need to analyse. But in that case Mir tried to insist [on keeping his line], and yeah, I didn't release the brakes enough to overtake him completely."

"I am not pissed with the manoeuvre of Marc," said Mir - although he immediately followed this up with a criticism of the move.

"OK, if he waited three seconds more, we passed the corner, in the straight he overtook me, this is something I don't really understand being in that position - if we fought for a podium, I understand.

"But, man, it's unbelievable how they value this type of things, the stewards. They are just so irregular with the penalties. It's unbelievable.

"I was a rider in the past that liked to overtake with contact. It's something that I do, because nowadays with the aero it's very difficult to overtake, so a bit of contact, we have to have this margin on the overtakes. But one thing is the margin to touch - and the other thing is to kick a rider out of the track

"This is a completely different story. They have to judge as they did in the past. I don't understand."

The Oliveira run-in

Mir also described Marquez as having overtaken Oliveira "in the exact same way" - though this was a slight exaggeration, given the Turn 9 move on Oliveira did not appear to come from nearly as far back (or at least took place at more obtuse-angled corner).

At the same time, it was one that very easily could've led to a similar kind of contact if Oliveira didn't back out.

"Almost but not contact. It's different!" insisted Marquez of the Oliveira move - but the Portuguese said Marquez owed him a new air screen and air filter, "and probably some tows also", because he'd been sent off-line and "got hit full of stones".

"I said to him 'look, the way you overtake is that you put half a bike in and then you just let go of the brake, if the guy outside stays you lean against him, if you take him out, you take him out'.

"And he said 'yeah, that's the way I need to overtake, otherwise I have no options to overtake'. Fair enough, I leave it up to the stewards to decide that.

"The thing is, he overtook me clean because I picked up the bike! And there's a water puddle there at Turn 9."

After handing back position to Oliveira as instructed, Marquez overtook him again in a very similar manner at the same corner.

"It happened twice. It is what it is," Oliveira said.

"I just have to be one second faster and then he won't be able to overtake me that easily."

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