It seems that Marc Marquez has got himself in hot water again. In FP1 yesterday at Valencia, Marquez, pressing on on a hot lap, aimed for a gap that was JUST there and tipped Simone Corsi off into the gravel in the process. Under pressure to do something about their troublesome wunderkind after a series of similar incidents this year, Race Direction slapped him with the maximum penalty allowed in the circumstances, demoting him to the back of the grid for the race no matter what his qualifying position might be.
Marquez, acknowledged by even his most strident detractors, as the NBT (Next Big Thing), has polarised opinion this year like a few other luminaries of past years has done. As an avowed Marquez fan, I have taken to often defending him this year in the social media, reminding his detractors of a certain 2 times world champion who had himself suspended for a couple of RACES a few years ago for lethal overtaking maneuvers while riding in the 250cc class and of a certain, now deceased competitor, for whose blood almost everyone was baying when he was rising through the ranks as well.
The certain MM93 is polite and quietly spoken off the bike but undergoes a personality change when on it; a real Jeckell and Hyde situation. But I have to say that this time at least, Race Direction got it pretty right. Something HAD to be done and to have simply slapped him on the wrist (again) would have brought the wrath of all and sundry down on the organiser’s head along with accusations of favouritism towards the Spanish rider at his home track. Indeed, if an example had to be made of him, this was probably the best time and the best place to do it. It absolves DORNA of blame for favouring the Spanish rider but it does not detract from the battle for the championship either. And, given that MM93’s eventual points gap between himself and Espargaro was what it was, nobody could say that the overturning of the penalty against him earlier in the season affected the overall outcome of the championship.
Next year, Marquez graduates to the big school where the head prefects will be a lot less tolerant of the new kid on the block and will react with far less grace and leniency should he try it on with them (as seen in the case of Simo who found he HAD to calm down even though it went against his natural instinct to do so).
Having said that, given MM93’s performance at Motegi where he came from last and won going away, there are those who are suggesting that the penalty as applied in this case is far less severe than what it might have been in the case of a lesser rider/bike combination. Sunday night will tell if they are right or not.