until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Martin handed Assen MotoGP grid penalty for qualifying near-miss

by Simon Patterson
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin has been handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Dutch TT at Assen after a near-miss with Raul Fernandez in qualifying.

Pramac Ducati rider Martin was cruising through the opening two turns at Assen gesticulating at rivals who were trying to follow him for a tow during the session - only to almost make contact with Trackhouse Aprilia rider Fernandez as his Spanish compatriot came past on a time attack lap.

The resulting penalty means Martin will no longer start alongside championship rival and sprint race winner Pecco Bagnaia on the front row but has instead been demoted back to fifth.

Only announced some five hours after the conclusion of the Q2 session in which the incident occurred and after the sprint race runner-up had spoken to the media, it means that Martin was unable to be asked for comment on the penalty.

It is the second time this weekend that Martin has been involved in a close call, with Red Bull Racing’s Jack Miller making contact with the rear of Martin’s Ducati in practice on Friday when he braked suddenly as Miller checked over his shoulder to see if there was oncoming traffic.

Martin was luck to escape that incident without sanction, but was not as fortunate on Saturday and as a result will now face an even tougher challenge when it comes to finding a way of stopping dominant sprint race victor Bagnaia.

However, the penalty itself came amid fresh confusion from the FIM MotoGP stewards, who initially issued the sanction with the incorrect time and session information.

This was something that has already been highlighted this weekend after addressing a sanction notification to MotoE racer Maria Herrera as ‘dear sir’ on Friday, and is the latest in a series of errors in their documentation.

It’s a situation that drew considerable attention in 2023 when Marc Marquez escaped serving a penalty in Argentina when the stewards specified he should serve it at that race, where he wasn’t declared fit to ride.

That language has since been modified to ensure that penalties apply to the next race in which a racer competes rather than a specific round - although this wasn’t the case for Martin, whose penalty is specified as applying only to Sunday’s Dutch TT.

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