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WATCH | Marc Marquez's controversial collision with Enea Bastianini in Dutch MotoGP Q1

Gold and Goose
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, Honda RC213V, 2023 MotoGP, Dutch TT, Assen, portrait, pit, garage, box [credit - Gold & Goose]

Marc Marquez looks set to face more questions about his on-track conduct after he was involved in another incident during Q1 for the MotoGP Dutch TT at Assen, this time involving Enea Bastianini.

The Spaniard has endured a bruising week following a crash-strewn German MotoGP weekend that saw him hit the deck on five occasions, the last of which prompted him to withdraw from the full-length race at the Sachsenring.

Back on track at Assen just a few days later despite being diagnosed with a broken rib, Marquez has struggled for form in the Netherlands and had suffered a fall towards the end of P2 on Friday.


Consigned to Q1 for the Dutch TT, in an attempt to find the pace he’d been lacking all weekend, Marquez - not unexpectedly - adopted his common tactic of selecting a fast rival rider to shadow in an effort to drag himself to a quicker time.

Selecting a clearly irritated Bastianini, such was the Italian’s determination to shake him off, he deliberately sacrificed his first fast lap, running wide at Turn 1 in the hope of out-foxing the Spaniard. However, the close-following Marquez caught himself out by following him off in sympathy, but proceeded to stay close to Bastianini for another attempt.

However, each was then frustrated by the others tactics when a distracted Bastianini ran wide again - unintentionally this time - at Turn 1, baulking Marquez in the process. 

With both slowing to a tour and Marquez filtering in behind again, the pair took to the outside line of Turn 3 and were each looking back to the traffic coming through. The lack of concentration would then lead to Marquez slamming into the back of the Ducati up ahead, forcing him down.

Though Bastianini stayed upright, he couldn’t start his final flying lap, consigning him to 18th on the grid and Marquez to 17th.

Marc Marquez to face penalty for MotoGP Dutch TT?

There are many who will say Marquez got his comeuppance in this accident - not that it will be much comfort for Bastianini - but this rather eyebrow raising incident couldn’t possibly have come at a worse time for the Spaniard.

Of course, many have spoken out against Marquez’s towing tendency, tactics the six-time MotoGP World Champion is brazen in admitting he will continue to use. While there is no specific rule against it, Marquez has been warned about going to lengths to keep behind a rider trying to shake him by going slowly or erratically, causing potential issues for other riders on track.

Strictly speaking, given riders run so close to one another in race conditions, then much the same can be permitted for qualifying, but slow speed towing is the problem.


>>> 2023 MotoGP World Championship standings <<<

It’s ironic then that Marquez’s Q1 was being spoiled by choosing Bastianini to tow even before his crash, the Italian’s dummy at Turn 1 catching Marquez out honestly before the unintentional mistake a lap later also scuppered his effort.

What is under scrutiny, however, is the way Marquez was still easing up to run behind Bastianini having had the momentum to nose ahead as they rounded Turn 2. Popping back in behind Bastianini, while it must be noted that both riders were craning their necks round to the right to watch for following traffic, it is Marquez’s responsibility to concentrate on the bike directly ahead of him.

It remains to be seen whether stewards take a dim view of the incident to pile more misery onto a week that can already be described as disastrous, but following his big clash with Johann Zarco in P2 at Sachsenring - from which both he and the Frenchman were lucky to walk away from - a stern telling off by stewards will be just the latest issue for a very stressed Marquez to contend with.

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