Court scraps Marquez’s penalty for Portugal MotoGP shunt

by Simon Patterson
2 min read

The FIM Court of Appeal has decided to scrap Marc Marquez’s long-lap penalty carried over from the opening race of the 2023 MotoGP season in Portugal.

The court judged that the decision of the FIM MotoGP stewards to alter the sanction so that it was due to be served at Marquez’s next race – rather than at the next round of the season, the 2023 Argentine Grand Prix, as was initially written – was made ‘without justifying reasons irregularly and wrongly amends the original sanction’.

Marc Marquez

Marquez was handed a long-lap penalty for a crash in the opening race of the season between himself, Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin and RNF Aprilia rider Miguel Oliveira in which the Repsol Honda rider outbraked himself early in the race and careered into the other two.

A bone in Martin’s foot was broken as he bounced off Marquez, who then struck Oliveria – taking him down and out of his home race and leaving him unable to compete at the following round in Argentina.

Marquez was immediately handed a long-lap penalty by the FIM MotoGP stewards which specifically stated that it was due to be served at the Argentine Grand Prix – only for the six-time world champion to then be ruled out of competing at Termas de Rio Hondo due to injuries to his right thumb sustained in the fall.

That in turn led to the MotoGP stewards changing the original sanction days later, amending it to state that he should instead be penalised at the next race in which he competes. That was immediately appealed by Marquez’s Repsol Honda team, with the case passing from the FIM Appeals Stewards to the Court of Appeals, which initially voted to freeze the sanction until it could hear the full case.

That hearing took place on Tuesday, with the panel of legal experts issuing a report confirming that the decision of the stewards (headed by former world champion Freddie Spencer) to retroactively change what they had communicated to Marquez constituted a breach of the rules, even while recognising that the crash at Portimao was caused by his ‘overly aggressive’ riding.

“The Court finds that the application of the sanction without justifying reasons irregularly and wrongly amends the original sanction, and therefore must be annulled,” the court stated in a lengthy document.

“The Court considers that the original sanction has been complied with and served by the non-participation of the rider in the MotoGP Race of Argentina and that the rider is allowed to compete in the next race in which he is available without any further sanction based on the infringement mentioned.”

Marc Marquez

Marquez has not raced since the season opener in March, and his participation in or absence from this weekend’s round at Le Mans has not yet been communicated.

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