Featured MotoGP – Marquez 'destroying' the sport

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Simon, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    The biggest rivalry in MotoGP has been reignited following an incident packed Argentina MotoGP race.

    Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was at the centre of the controversy – the Spaniard dominated the post-race headlines for all the wrong reasons – stalling on the grid, riding the wrong way through the grid to reclaim his starting position, riding into Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and then forcing Yamaha's Valentino off track while battling for sixth.

    Rossi remounted his Yamaha to finish 19th and although Marquez finished in fifth, he was bumped down the pecking order to 18th after being slapped with a 30-second penalty. It was the Honda pilot’s third penalty of the day – he was handed a ride through penalty in the early stages of the race after stalling his bike on the grid and then riding the wrong way up the track back to his grid position ahead of the race start. The incident with Aleix Espargaro then saw Race Direction hand him a one-place penalty,

    Marquez went to the Yamaha garage to apologise after the race, but was thrown out before he had the chance to meet Rossi.

    Speaking after the event, the Italian accused Marquez of ‘destroying’ the sport. He said: “I’m OK, but this is a very bad situation. If you take what happened this weekend as an example, one incident can happen to anybody, you can make a mistake in braking, you can touch the other guy. It can happen, it's racing.

    “But from Friday morning on, Marquez did this to Viñales, to Dovizioso, to me, and on Saturday morning, and today he went straight through four riders. If you start to race like this, you raise the level to a very dangerous point. If all the riders race like this, this will become a very dangerous sport and it will finish in a bad way.

    “It's a very dangerous situation and I hope that what I said to Race Director Mike Webb makes them take more responsibility, they have to do something. I'm scared on the track when I'm with Marquez. I was scared today when I saw his name on the board. I'm not Race Direction – they will decide – but like this he is destroying our sport, because when you do 300 km an hour on the track, you have to have respect for your rivals.”

    Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli also slammed Marquez’s riding. He said: “Valentino was riding in sixth place, behind Maverick when his race was compromised by Marquez. While we respect Race Direction's decision to impose a 30s-penalty on Marquez, we feel his dangerous riding style should be further discouraged for safety reasons and for the sake of the sport.

    “Maverick moved back up to fifth place in the race results, but a lot of damage has been done, considering that Valentino misses out on quite a chunk of championship points. It's a disappointing end to the race weekend for him, but the entire team will pull together to make up for today's loss at the next GP in Austin, where we hope to see fair racing only.”

    Marquez dismissed the claims, putting his errors down to the tricky racing conditions. He said: “It was a tricky race, in very tough conditions, with several drawbacks. Just before the start I had an issue with the engine, which stopped. We’ll look into it later.

    “Anyway, I put my hands up but nobody was there. I was able to restart the bike and then I looked for some input from the marshals, as I wasn’t sure if, with the bike running again, I should go to my place on the grid or back to the pits. One marshal raised his hands, and a second one gave the thumbs up, which I interpreted to mean I could stay.

    “When I saw the penalty message on the dashboard, I didn’t understand why, but I of course complied. Then I obviously tried push to recover and unfortunately I made some mistakes, the biggest one I believe being with Aleix. I approached faster than him and I didn’t realise it. I tried my best to avoid contact but unfortunately I wasn’t able.

    “I saw the penalty and, to be safe, gave up two positions, not just one, before starting to push again. With Valentino it was different, as it was a consequence of the track conditions. I touched a wet patch, locked the front, and released the brakes. I tried to turn, again making my best effort to avoid contact. When he crashed I immediately apologised. It was a racing incident as happened earlier with Zarco and Dani, and then with Petrucci and Aleix. It was a tricky Sunday. Of course today I made some mistakes, which I recognise. Other mistakes were made by Race Direction on the grid, and others were due to the difficult conditions, but one thing I know for sure: never in my career have I intentionally hit another rider.”
     

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