Marc Marquez has been handed a penalty point for his role in the incident with Dani Pedrosa at Aragon. On Lap 6 of the Aragon race, Marquez braked a little too late for Turn 12, found himself running into the back of his teammate Dani Pedrosa, the picked the bike up to run it wide.

In doing so, he just touched the back of Pedrosa’s bike, severing the rear wheel speed sensor, and sending the Honda’s traction control system into full power mode, which caused Pedrosa to be thrown from the bike when he opened the throttle.

Despite initially dimissing the crash as a normal racing incident, Race Direction had held the incident under investigation after the Aragon race, while they waited for further technical data from Honda on the crash. That data was delivered to them at Sepang, and after examining it, Race Direction found both Marc Marquez and HRC culpable for the crash.

Marquez was found culpable for riding in an irresponsible manner (violating section 1.21.2 of the Disciplinary code, the catch-all for dangerous riding), and HRC was found culpable for endangering their riders by using a vulnerable design for a vital part of a system that is important to the safety and performance of the motorcycle.

Marc Marquez was given a single penalty point by Race Direction, bringing his current total to 3 points. The single point for the Aragon crash will have no immediate impact; once a rider has accumulated 4 points, they start from the back of the grid, and if they amass 7 points, they have to start from pit lane. Accumulating 10 points automatically incurs a race ban, although the penalty points are reset to zero for all riders at the start of each season.

Honda were stripped of the 25 points in the manufacturers championship which they gained from Marquez’s win at Aragon. Instead, they received 13 points in the manufacturers’ standings for Alvaro Bautista’s 4th place in the race. Neither Marquez nor Honda have said they will appeal the sanction.

Race Director Mike Webb told the media, including Spanish magazine Motociclismo, that Marquez’s punishment was meant to be a signal to the Spaniard that he has to be more aware of other riders when on track, especially in braking.

Webb said that they had checked the braking data from both Marquez and Pedrosa, and both men had braked at almost exactly the same point as on previous laps, but that the greater proximity between the two riders and the difference in riding styles – one braking early and carrying corner speed, the other braking late and turning the bike – had caused the contact.

Marquez, as the rider behind, should have taken account of his closeness to Pedrosa. It was the responsibility of the rider behind to ensure that he would not hit the rider in front entering a corner, Webb said.

Though contact was only minimal, Webb said, this was just one of a number of incidents which had happened throughout the year.

Marquez’s braking had left him uncomfortably close to riders several times during the season, and as Marquez had actually made contact with Pedrosa at Aragon, Race Direction had taken the opportunity to give him a single point as a warning.

This was a message, Webb said, to let Marquez know that he needs to show more respect to his rivals when racing with them at close quarters on track.

The penalty against Honda was an acknowledgement of the design flaw of Honda’s rear wheel speed sensor, Webb said. Most other manufacturers had dual rear wheel speed sensors just in case one failed, and Honda had been warned previously by some team engineers that the sensor was vulnerable.

If the manufacturers designed their motorcycles to be so utterly dependent on electronic inputs to be ridden safely, then they had a duty to ensure that those systems would function safely and not endanger their riders if there was a malfunction, Race Direction felt.

Honda had already taken steps to prevent a reoccurrence of the Aragon incident. At Sepang, all Hondas now had a small carbon fiber plate protecting the sensor cable. Furthermore, HRC were looking at the software component of traction control, Takeo Yokoyama, Technical Director of the Repsol Honda Team told the website.

“From the software point of view, we of course do have a backup mode; if something happens with the sensor signal, the bike is supposed to go into the safety mode immediately. However, the strategy was not perfect, so for this race we have modified it so that we can detect such failures earlier,” Yokoyama said.

Source: Motociclismo; Photo: Repsol Media

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Ben

    The one person who comes along and can overtake at the front of these races gets a kick up the ass. Needs to “show more respect to his fellow riders”…..what a ridiculous statement.

    I’m starting to think Dorna’s already decided the championship results for the next few years to help manage their marketing campaign. MM is clearly not playing to the script!

    And can someone remind me what scrutineering is for?????? Isn’t that supposed to weed out dangerous bikes and technical issues before they get on the track? How do you come along after the fact and penalise a manufacturer.

    I’m going to concentrate on the Lingerie Football League I think…it seems like more serious sport at the moment!

  • digitalrurouni

    I think this was a very fair assessment. I am a huge Marquez fan and do acknowledge that he has blown away the dust and the cobwebs off of the MotoGP championship more so than even the return of Rossi to Yamaha. and I am a huge Rossi fan. No one is trying to clip Marquez’s wings, I think they are just forcing him to be mindful of how risky it all can be. Let’s not forget also that this weekend’s round is where Simoncelli lost his life. Marquez has demonstrated many times that h can pull off spectacular moves in passing other riders WITHOUT unnecessary risk and contact. I think this point is to just encourage that behavior instead of just blindly charging through with no regard for his own safety and the other riders as well. I think Race Direction was fair.

  • Gonzo

    I can see an argument being made for both sides of this argument…but I think it’s bullshit! If Honda had routed that wire along the inside of the swingarm, or had a two sensor system, then Pedrosa would have continued on his merry way, with Marquez just running wide.

  • Hank

    I kinda want to se MM start from the back of the grid and watch him work his way up. He might grab 3rd or 4th?

  • How about a return to where the rider’s skill actually controls the motorcycle- not a damn computer!

  • Gabe

    I wonder if this is a way for race direction to pass the buck to HRC as far as calming Marquez down. This way, race direction doesn’t look like they’ve done nothing, no real penalty is incurred by the rider, the team sorts it out .

  • FafPak


    Likewise, if Marq hadn’t touched Pedrosa, then Pedrosa would have continued on his merry way as well.

    I think the judgement passed was fair, and not harsh at all. Honda got punished for an unsafe design. Marq for a slap on the wrist for risky breaking.

    IMHO it is for Marq’s own good. We all saw the black tire markings on his forearm. What if his arm had gone further up into the rear tire section of Danny’s bike and had been ripped off?

  • proudAmerican

    So let me get this straight–I see Moto-2 and Moto-3 riders bouncing off of each other through the corners, multiple times each race. To me, that’s fantastic racing by very determined, very skilled, very hungry riders.

    Marc barely brushes against Dani’s swingarm while passing him, and severs a wire that we now know is placed a little too precariously atop the swingarm itself.

    Had the wire not been severed, Dani wouldn’t have high-sided (wow, there’s an argument for fewer electronic rider aids!), and we would have seen the pass for what it was–a spectacularly smooth, close, and determined move by a very hungry contender for the Moto-GP title.

    In a nutshell, I see MM being punished because of where HRC placed a traction-control wire.

  • Damn

    people are dumb by only looking at this fault. look at the bigger picture please cos you people act dumb

  • TexusTim

    yes it apears that dorna doesnt want to upset the kid too much so they penalize the team to rein him in….WRONG they should have stripped his points for that race …the reason this is so critical is he took out a rider who had a chance at the championship and basicaly ruined his season…lorenzo let him by because he didnt want to risk it with him…..I have watched the race several times and he was doing more than applying pressure to pedrosa he was riding dangeriously and this punishment will not stop him from doing this again…moto2 and moto3 is a very different situation and more agressive style for sure but in motogp there is no place for taking out a leading contender…just think how bad it could have been when he blew the yellow flag and crashed…if those corner workers had not been on there game it could have been very very bad.

  • Tim

    Folks are focused on a single event. The truth is this was just another in a chain.

    If in the end Marc kills himself no problem what so ever.

    If instead he kills or cripples someone else then all the “ride over your head because it excites us” cheerleaders will suddenly be silent or saying …well that is racing.

    Jorge is right

  • crshnbrn

    @ Hank +1

    I would also like to see Marquez pick his way thru the field.

    @ Gabe +1

    I doubt HRC is happy to have egg on its face over this incident, especially with it coming to light that they had been previously warned about the vulnerability of the rear wheel speed sensor by team engineers. If Marquez goes on to win the championship, and Honda goes on to win the manufacturer’s championship, Pedrosa might just be told to deal with it.

    IMHO this was a freak racing incident that just happened to involve Marquez. As I stated in an earlier post, the issue that I have with it is when it occurred. To be racing your own teammate so aggressively just 1/4 of the way into a race with the race leader just in front of both of you isn’t very smart.