Marc Marquez Given 1 Penalty Point For Aragon Incident, Honda Stripped Of Championship Points

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, causing 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 for riding in an irresponsible manner (violating section 1.21.2 of the Disciplinary code, the catch-all for dangerous riding) and HRC for endangering their riders by using a vulnerable design for a vital part of a system which is so 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' 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' 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' 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.

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The penalty for poor design of racing machines has always been failure to finish or win.

The purpose of scrutineering has been to stop obviously unsafe machines from participating (apart from the obvious check for conformance to rules)

So now race direction is going to penalise poor design, despite the fact it was apparently discussed, and yet the bikes passed scrutineering. WOW.

Where will it stop? If you have an engine failure (surely traceable to imperfect design) that chucks you off, will the whole team be docked points (in addition to those already lost on account of the failure to finish)?

I wonder what they are smoking, there in Malaysia.

The penalty was explained as being for the non-functional software fail-safe, that was supposed to protect the rider if the sensor was damaged or otherwise failed. Honda have admitted that it was an error on their part, and they have taken steps to correct the issue, as well as adding protection to the cable/sensor itself.

the thing is, this could easily have resulted in Dani breaking another collarbone (or worse - worst case something like what happened to Marco due to following bikes) due to the resulting highside purely due to faulty bike design (inability to withstand racing incidents like this).

safety is important. we all want to see close racing, and don't want to see anyone seriously hurt.

The fact the TC sensor wire was so openly exposed and that there was not an adequate fail-safe for it is not really acceptable and easily rectified. it shouldn't have been on track like that, IMHO - this isn't bob's backyard custom bikes we're talking about here - this is world championship racing with supposedly the best motorcyle engineers in the world. the ducati system was already fault tolerant with sensors on both sides....

and engine seizure is a bit different to an obvious oversight of adding a second $5 worth of hall-effect sensor and a bit of wire to the other side of the swing-arm.

The penalty point to Marquez is what we in America call a "make up call".

at least someone finally said out loud what has been obvious....Marquez has shown no ability to adapt his braking points to the other riders and conditions on the track and continues to hit his braking points as though he were alone on the track,no more and no less. Now they have covered their asses with this single point deduction,so if and when his(and whoever has been closest to him) luck runs out and he finally snowplows someone or runs off an hurts himself,they can say that they warned him...meanwhile,we get more soft pedaling of his mistakes,which are minor purely by chance.....To cover it all:1.MM is a tremendously and historically talented rider.2.Hard racing,which MM has shown himself to be perfectly and safely capable of, has nothing to do with the mistakes and dangerous riding he has exhibited all season long,and all to do with carelessness and youthful exuberance.3.The lack of catastrophic results has all to do with pure good fortune,both for him and his continued blitz towards the Championship and his fellow racers 3.He has been aided in the continuation of this carelessness by those who are so blinded by #1 that they cannot see #3 and who are apparently confused and unable to discern number 2.

A rider who continually has crashes that are absolutely not his fault when other riders don't should in theory not be judged harshly for his poor results.

But he will be.

Maybe not the first or second time. But once you get on a Ben Spies style run of sh!t that is not your fault happening to you, even as your team mate is romping to victory week in week out, then you are out of a job at some point, even while people are expressing their sympathy and understanding.

On the other hand, if you consistently repeal the laws of physics and continue not to have the massive crash that you are clearly trying to have every other lap and continue _not_ to take out the numerous riders you nearly t-boned into the grandstand every race, all while winning almost every week, nobody can really say anything...

If he had punted Dani off his bike 'properly', then I've a feeling he'd have been looking at a 2 pointer at least, along with the ride thru he would surely have had at the time; the fact that he actually touched him softly enough that neither of them crashed at that moment despite the contact occurring at full lean on the limit mid corner makes it hard to penalise him substantively. The consequences nevertheless make it impossible to ignore. As long as he continues to not quite knock people off he'll be fine. The first time this season or next, if there is one, that he scoops somebody up bigtime then a world of crap is going to fall on his head...

...unless you are going to employ software engineers and QA experts in the scrutineering bay, how are you going to scrutineer complex evolving bespoke software driven systems for safety, any more than you could monitor them for rules compliance? In any case, the scrutineering bay can monitor compliance with the rules and obvious visible safety issues (although this is MotoGP, not club racing; it's not like anybody checks that all the bolts on Rossi's Yamaha are lockwired and puts a sticker on the screen to confirm it before he's allowed out for FP1, is it!). Nobody looking at the bike with anything other than a very sophisticated software dev kit/simulator for many hundreds of hours of testing would have a prayer of being able to tell you that 'If it is a Julien day/date wholly divisible by 7 and we are in the northern hemisphere and we go into fuel saving mode then there will be a catastrophic stack overflow in the GPS module that overwrites the fuel map with random noise that might include opening the throttle fully, whatever position the twist grip is in'. to imagine a hypothetical safety issue that would almost certainly first be discovered by a very unfortunate rider if anybody ever did discover it. Nor could they tell you that that shiny looking rules compliant fuel injection rail on top of the engine is prone to vibration induced fatigue fractures that could spray high pressure fuel all over a hot engine. However, if a team who had found cracks in seeveral injection rails and swapped them out, had also warned a manufacturer about the fuel injection rail issue , and the manufacturer said 'Meh, it will be fine' (or 'how many fuel injection systems have you designed, you idiots?'), and the bike and rider subsequently became a Colin Edwards style 200mph Fireball during a race because the failure mode warned of actually occurred, would you want the outcome to be the race stewards saying 'Yes, it was a wholly avoidable catastrophe waiting to happen, but since a non-flambe'd bike looks perfectly safe before the part in question entirely predictably failed, there's nothing we can do to sanction anybody for this incident'?

I imagine that the factor that weighed heavily here is that the team's race engineers had already highlighted a safety concern, and HRC had responded to the concern by saying 'We are HRC, our sensors are HRC sensors, they will not fail' or something similar. All for want of adding an additional sensor wired seperately back to the ECU and having some 'agree or disagree' logic in the software...

Events proved in hindsight that the concern was a valid one. HRC's bad.

... a bit of aluminium shielding it from damage, or running it in a less vulnerable location on the swing-arm would have been far better than the school-boy bodge they had on the bike when it failed.

again, these are highly paid professionals in the elite level of motorcycle racing we are talking about here, they're not meant to make schoolboy errors like this.

I'm affraid that these penalties raise a number of questions, and chages the way the spirit of the sport and where we are heading... What is the next step in the governing and ruling of rider actions on the track?

So, Marc is clearly being punished for situtation that has occured hundreds of times in all classes. A rider breaks a little too late, and touches the rider in front of him very lightly. It happens all the time, and no one is ever punished by being awarded any penalty points what so ever.

As I see it, race direction has put themselves in a very troublesome position with this decision...

By awarding Marc penalty points for this manouvre, they have now set the bar for the reminder of the season. And either they stand by their decision now and treat every single incindent the same way for the rest of the season, rendering hundreds of penaltypoints across all three categories...

Or, they continue work as usual, using the same rulings and judgement they have been doing up until now, showing off an unhealthy injustice in the system by penalizing and judging different riders in different ways depending who they are. Making the system subjective, unfair, an injust...

Either way, they are basically f*cked....

Another question you might ask is what it is that you should judge in situations like these. Is it the action/decision of the rider on the track, or the consequenses of that action/decision? Now this is a very important ideological question. Are two riders making the exact same mistake, to be judged differently depending on what the outcome of that exact same mistake is? Should that responebility be put on the riders, to evaluate exactly what consequenses each decision out on the track has, how bisarre they might be?

I mean, we all know that IF that little sensor cable had't been unprotected, placed on the upper side of the swingarm, been a single point of failure for the Honda TC system, and the system itslef hadn't been designed in a way that when loosing the input of that sensor it shuts off instead of going into a safe mode. And IF Dani hadn't lost his TC and crashed, no one would even have raised un eyebrow at this incident. So is Marc punished for the action (braking too little too late and lightly touching his teammate) or the consequence (Dani loosing his TC and crashing)?.

I also worry that this decision by race direction has been the result of preassure put on them by certain top riders constant wining and complaining about Marques' "dangerous" riding style (no names mentioned here). And that this preassure finally has influenced the decision of race direction... These riders might have more than just the issue of safety in mind when trying to put race direction under this preassure. Giving the rookie another penalty point surely must have him thinking and mybe, just maybe, this could throw him just a little off balance and affect his riding and his results for the rest of the season. Increasing the chance for the other top riders to catch up...

You might also suspect that there have been some preassure by people who might have some interests in making the end of the season as exciting as humanly possible. This way selling more tickets, getting more media, and more excitement around the championship (no names mentioned here either).
I mean, it would be extremely good PR for the sport and for the championship if Marc finally was awarded 4 points and had to start from the back of the grid before the season is over. Just imagine what good PR too see him storm thru the field like in Moto2 last year. Videoclips all over YouTube, links across every social media around the world. Or he loses a lot of points, making the championship a real nailbiter for the final race of the season... Win-win.

Either way, I think the decision stinks...

If his mentors had put him straight, there would have been no need for further sanction required IMO

The lad had history in his previous classes and is in his mgp rookie year and needed firm guidance from his mentors including HRC. He doesn't appear to have had the appropriate guidance to date this year and as a consequence it has been left to others to challenge his on track actions.

While his actions only affected those outside the team (marshals, other teams) he was left unchecked. Now that it has affected the team within, perhaps his mentors may rethink their approach.

IMO the sanction is aimed at the individual, not the entire grid, and in the context of this particular individual it seems entirely justified given the circumstances.

he was awarded a warning of 1 point.

this has had zero bearing on his championship, and if he isn't continually involved in incidents like this, then he won't be accruing any more points.

this is the equivalent of the school teacher writing your name on the board with a cross next to it, warning you that if you get three crosses, you get detention after school.

In the late 500cc era, GP bikes were 130kg and produced about 180hp. The current 1000cc 4-strokes weigh 160kg and produce over 260hp. The new 21L/20L bikes are also completely reliant on electronics to get around the track. As the years have passed, the tires have gotten wider, stickier, and more durable. As Kevin Cameron pointed out in an article a few years ago, the original 1000cc SBKs of the 1980s had tires as wide as the most recent 125cc Grand Prix bikes.

As the bikes get bigger and heavier, the consequences of fairing bashing become more pronounced. The insurance companies and safety regulators are not going to let Dorna and the FIM sit around and do nothing.

The time to be worried was a decade ago. The 990s were an incredible curtain-raiser, but some experts were already predicting serious complications in the future. The future is now.

I guess I have a hard time swallowing this since Marquez was given a hero's welcome for intentionally running into Lorenzo at Jerez but penalized for accidently touching Pedrosa at Aragon.

Although the contact with Lorenzo was harder at Jerez, the thought was that Lorenzo and Marquez ran into eachother, and seeing as Lorenzo was still able to finish its just a racing incident. I thought Marquez could have had a slap on the wrist as there was no way Lorenzo could have seen him coming to avoid contact by not turning in on his normal line.

At Aragon the contaact was light, but it was clearly Marquez that initiated it and Pedrosa was unable to finish the race as a result.
On the whole I think they got it right.

fans of Marc will call it stupid and find all kinds of reasons why he shouldn't be penalised
non-fans or people who dislike him will say "justice has finaly been done"

I thinck they made a good descission. 1 point has no immediate effect but it should be enough to act as a "last warning" . if not for this last incident, than it's for his behaviour of many years passing.

... and i think the 1 point is reasonable. however it should have been applied to other people this season, if this is the way they're planning to use it.

... and i think the 1 point is reasonable. however it should have been applied to other people this season, if this is the way they're planning to use it.

The decision seems to be pretty fair really, but... and this is the big but...

WHY have they not hit hayden and dovi with points for the repeated contact they've been having all season?

I suspect that if the TC wire wasn't broken on Dani's bike, this whole incident would have been nothing - and the TC sensor failure isn't all Marc's fault.

If they're going to give him a penalty point, fair enough - it's a warning that if it keeps happening, its not just bad luck, there's a common element involved (Marc).

But if that's the case they really need to be handing them out to others more frequently.

disclosure: #93 fanboi

I'm a fan of Marquez and feel he is more deserving of a penalty for the dive bomb at Jerez than the Aragon incident.

Racers race, I get that. Marquez, much like the late Simocelli, has a history of erratic, fly by the seat of your pants racing. Some people call it wreckless (myself included) and others call it refreshing and entertaining. All things considered he is still a rookie, regardless as to what the standings show. This penalty in my opinion was over the top and sets a daunting precedent for things to come. Apparently DORNA has turned a blind eye to every race of the year in Moto 3 and Moto 2.

What I am interested in knowing is if Marquez and Pedrosa had approached the incident corner the exact same as previous laps. IMO it makes little to no difference in the ruling as mistakes by riders will ALWAYS happen.

This will be his third time watching the #2 rider on his team win the championship, while all he's managed to win is the undying support of Alberto Puig.

That's bound to leave a mark.

So MM93 gets the penalty but the rule is not enforced on others...

Karel Abraham crashes nearly every race and not a single penalty is given. Laverty is taken out by Petrucci and no penalty either.

What's wrong here?

@ Desh,

We can say that Jorge and Marc "ran into each other" however, the fact is that Marquez wouldn't have been close to making the corner if it were not his contact into Lorenzo. Marquez had to have known making that dive bomb would incur contact. I have never seen a move like that where the end result was there was no contact. So again, we have an incident where there was no contact intended (Aragon) and an incident where contact was intended (Jerez) yet the penalty is given for the Aragon incident.

It's not the fact that Marquez was penalized, it's the lack of discretion in which it is being handed out that I have a problem with.

Jorge admitted he thought Marquez was a lot farther back. If he had been aware, he would have taken the defensive line or let Marquez square the corner in front of him and dived back on the inside for 2nd place. It's happened countless times. It actually happened between Marquez and Lorenzo earlier in the Jerez race. A large number of passes in MotoGP would result in contact if the person getting passed failed to realize what was going on and didn't react.

In Jerez, Marquez put himself onto Jorge's preferred line. In Aragon, Marquez put himself into Pedrosa's bike (however slight).

The former is racing, the latter is an "incident". And I think race direction did a good job with this difficult circumstance.

Correct prediction, wrong victim. I was sure that MotoGP would strip the points for the win from Marquez. They stripped the points for the win from Honda. I had no idea that stripping Honda itself of the win was even an option, although I should have, based on F1 history.

Nevertheless, small donation to the Roadracing World Action Fund on the way today to settle my bet with Motomann. Is that acceptable, 'mann?

It wasn't me but I saw your agreement; nice of you to put your hand up though.

Marquez, who causes the incident, receives a 1 point penalty. Honda, whose design flaw was deemed complicit, receives a 25 point (1 race) penalty. Message sent? No action will be taken that could endanger the chances of Marquez of becoming champion. Let Honda bear the brunt of the situation. He should have been awarded 2 points. He's all but certain to win the championship anyway. Starting from the back of the grid might only have kept him off the podium. It also would have sent the message that all riders are deemed equal. He now looks protected. I say either enforce the rules properly or just let things revert back to the way it was in the Rainey-Schwantz era. You can't have it both ways.

Marc is a rookie acting like a wise veteran that's been there and done that already! Marquez already stated that he's not going to change his style (at the moment at least) despite the penalty point. Why would he? Look where it's gotten him... he's about to be crowned MotoGP Champion 2013! Marc has the right attitude and mindset... 4 races left... get the title! Dorna/Race-Direction will do what they want anyhow. Let Jorge have his tantrums against the media and let Dani continue to pout! There has been more on-track drama as well as more off-track drama this season than I can ever remember... THANK YOU MARQUEZ! So let the adults b*tch, complain, talk smack, hate as much as they want while you quietly break records and take the title in your ROOKIE year!

Marquez certainly never intended harming Dani's race in anyway. Hindsight. Valentino certainly did not intend the Stoner mess circa Jerez 2011. Penalty rule now applicable and so what? Give Marc a penny,give him a pound. Silly penalty with no firepower to back it up on race day.
Sit on the fence Mike Webb. Have to admire his non-engagement. Looks like the race director took the pragmatic path rather than seeing a race for what it is, a race. Overly zealous moves happening in a thousandth of one second and unintended consequences. Dani and Casey's battle plan was clear on the day. Get the hell out and vanish if you can to the chequered flag. Let the fans complain about boring spectacle. That way you avoid penalties and blah when you hold it all together. HRC penalty acceptable. They should have had a redundant system that actually worked. My 2 cents and hindsight. Marquez did not earn a penalty. Secretly I would have liked to have seen him docked the 2 and start from the back of the grid. Spectacle of note potential. Anyway he could pick up an additional 1 before the race starts. For George its a case of run rabbit run from hereon in. He acknowledged it in a recent interview and all the best to him. A great World Champion and ambassador of note for the sport. Hell! Gigi should talk to him for 2015 aswell.

I respectfully disagree S3tigoHide

In Jerez, Marquez put himself into Jorge's bike (intentionally). In Aragon, Marquez put himself into Pedrosa's bike (unintentionally).

It still is and forever has been the responsibility of the passing rider to make the clean pass.

It's a long bow to draw to say Marquez INTENDED TO HIT Jorge at Jerez. He intended to block pass him for sure, and you could definitely make the case that Marquez didn't take enough care to avoid contact. The idea that Jorge was supposed to predict Marquez's actions to avoid contact has always struck me as a very odd argument. Suppose Jorge 'predicted' the lunge but Marc didn't attempt it, Jorge would have taken a really slow and defensive line into the turn and then risked been gobbled up on the exit. The onus is on the passing rider to pass cleanly as you say. Whether Jorge could have seen Marquez in time to change his line I seriously doubt, but Marc was attempting to pass, not clean him up. To me the fact he was at least attempting a pass to win the race makes the contact a bit less stupid than simply running into someone from behind in a braking zone. And the consequences of the two incidents was very different also, which does make a difference. If Jorge had been taken out of the race I have no doubt MM would have received penalty points for the pass.

Enjoy FP1. Hell! This is Valentino's and M1's track. I did not notice a Motegi penalty re- his injudcious move on George back then. Anyway,lets wish all the best upon all of 'em.
Under the Bridge. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, was it?

No penalty points when Pedrosa t-boned Nicky; it lost Nicky the lead with one race to go. Lorenzo crashed loads in his first year then got better. (I hated racing near people who crashed a lot). And how many questionable incidents has Rossi been involved in? (Jorge bitched about him at some point too).

The best riders have come in to Motogp and are too fast and learn to slow/calm down. More difficult to learn how to go faster.

Motogp had started to resemble Formula 1. I would have stopped watching were it not for MM.

"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."

Yup. A company the size of HRC should simply be not making these errors.

Marquez. Good point made above that no one acted this way at Jerez. "It was racing". I'm a great fan of Dani's, and none of this is his fault. That's the kicker in all this. Everyone (I spoke to) when Marquez came up to MotoGP said "he'll crash. Lots." That's not happened. Proves what I know as well... The thing I keep having to remind myself is that he's 20 yrs old and is riding his 15th Grand Prix. He's going to make mistakes but he's also the most exciting thing to happen in a very long time. He'll calm down. He has to, because I honestly think even he can't keep riding his luck like this. (excuse the pun)..

Is he being penalised for this "youthful exuberance" or because he's leading the world championship by "ruffling feathers"? I seem to remember utter uproar over Valentino's penalty after the rubbering in of his grid position.

The one thing it's done, is given us all something extra to talk about and added another angle to this weekend. So, maybe after his comments today. Jorge was bang on the money.

I see these penalty points – both to Marquez and to team Honda – as nothing more than cynical attempts to stir up controversy and boost TV ratings. They'll probably be successful, too (sadly).