Marquez penalized for morning crash with one minute added to qualifying time
The Australian Grand Prix did not start in the best way for Marc Márquez, who was the unfortunate protagonist of a dramatic incident with Tai rider Ratthapark Wilairot, against whom he hit at the end of the first free session. Despite the impact between the two riders, Márquez was able to go out to the track in the afternoon for the second free session, which he finished in seventeenth place. Nevertheless, at the end of the practice session the Race Direction decided to give him a one-minute penalty to be added to his time in tomorrow’s qualifying, which will force him to start on Sunday from the last place of the grid.
The morning had already gone wrong from the first minutes of the first free session, where Márquez suffered a crash in the second corner when he had only done four laps The Repsol rider lost grip and had an off. After repairing the damage, the Repsol rider returned to the track at the end of the session, with time barely enough to do a final lap to check that everything was working properly. Nevertheless, once the session was over and he was going back to the garage, he suffered a dramatic accident when he bumped into Wilairot in the third corner, where the Tai rider was slower and was hidden by another rider. Marc did not see him and when he found himself behind Wilairot, he was not able to avoid the crash.
The accident finished with a stitch in the eyebrow for the Repsol rider, apart from some scratches and bruises. Wilairot, despite the X-ray not showing any serious injury, was moved to Melbourne hospital for further checks. Due to that incident, the Race Direction decided to penalize Marc by adding one minute to the time he sets tomorrow in the qualifying session. Márquez was able to go out to the track in the second free session, although without the last modifications to his Suter and, although he was able to ride among the fastest at the beginning, he finished eight tenths behind the fastest time set by Alex De Angelis, and in seventeenth position.
Marc Márquez FP1 – 1:36.214, 6 laps, 27 km. FP2 – 1:35.291, 21 laps, 93 km.
“It was a very tough day, a day to forget, and that is what we are going to do. It was all very strange, with unusual things, such as the morning crash, when I made a mistake. I was too fast and when I step on the grass I fell.
When the session was about to finish I went out to do a lap and check that everything was fine after the crash. When the session was over and after the finish line, I was finishing the lap to go back to the garage when in the third corner —which is very fast— I saw a rider.
I was not going too fast, but the track is very fast and in that corner, which is normally taken in fifth, I was maybe on fourth. When the other rider got out of the way I saw that Wilairot was behind him and I was not able to brake.
I hope he is fine, because it was a hard crash and I was not seriously injured, so I wish him the best. In the afternoon we tried to recover the confidence and the feeling again, because we had to ride with the previous bike, with the old chassis.
It took a bit to get used to it again, but we will keep working tomorrow and of course we will not give up. About the penalty there is not much I can say. It was a decision of the Race Direction and we have to respect it, even if we do not agree with it”.
Source: Repsol Media