Marquez keeps third place after penalty for crash with Espargaro gets repealed
The fifth round of the Moto2 World Championship was once again an action-packed contest for fans, with the winner not decided until the final lap. Prolonging proceedings even further, third place for Marc Márquez was not confirmed until some six hours after the conclusion of the race. The Repsol rider had been involved in a racing incident with Pol Espargaró three minutes from the end, was sanctioned by Race Direction and later had the punishment lifted by the FIM commission.
On track, a lead group rapidly formed consisting of the favourites for the title in the intermediate class. Iannone, Márquez, Luthi and Espargaró were all battling for the win, with the latter joining back up with the leaders after dropping his pace. Tenth by tenth, they left the rest of the field behind.
As the laps went on, the tension mounted until three laps from the end and with Iannone in the lead Luthi overtook Márquez. The Spaniard ran wide after narrowly saving a crash and attempted to rejoin the racing line as Pol Espargaró used the open door to go through and contact was made between the two. Espargaró had the worse end of the clash as he suffered a violent crash while Márquez stayed on the bike but lost several tenths to the guys in front. Iannone and Luthi escaped to finish first and second, respectively, joined by Márquez on the podium.
Upon the conclusion of the contest, Race Direction reviewed the incident betwen Espargaro and Marquez and subsequently penalised the Repsol rider for irresponsible riding, imposing a 1 minute penalty whichh initially relegated him to 23rd position and fourth place in the championship, not scoring any points. Upon appeal, FIM officials repealed the decision, returning the third place to Márquez. With this result he is currently second in the World Championship, two points from new leader Thomas Luthi (88 points).
Marc Márquez 3rd at 1.137 sec.
“That was a race in which we had to fight hard. Maybe we didn’t have the best setting, but we fought with all we have and did a good job. I felt comfortable behind Iannone, but he was very clever and logically tried to slow me down. I decided to risk a pass on the final laps, but with three to go I made a small mistake and that brought me into contact with Pol Espargaró. I’m sorry for him and I apologise for it happening — I hope that he isn’t hurt, because I didn’t even know that he had crashed until the end. I noticed that we touched, but I didn’t see him because we have no mirrors and I can’t see what is going on behind me”.
Source: Repsol Media