“This time Marc went too far...” A very upset Dani Pedrosa verbally attacked his teammate Marc Marquez the day after having endured a nasty highside crash caused by the 20-year-old rookie during the MotoGP race held in Motorland Aragón. “I want to know where the limits are. Many of us could ride as aggressive as Marc and clash into each other, but we do not. But if it’s the way to be, OK, we will play that game.”
What caused this radical statement from the normally stoic Pedrosa was the aftermath of one of Marquez’s typical aggressive passing moves. Both Repsol Honda riders were chasing Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo after one of his now-typical Wayne Rainey-style rocket starts. Two weeks ago in Misano it worked to perfection, Lorenzo able to open a gap in the opening laps that forced the chasing Honda duo to overwork their tires attempting to close up. But this time, in the much more wide and fast Motorland facility, the Hondas quickly neutralized Lorenzo’s plan.
In the 14th out of 23 race laps, Lorenzo was still in the lead, but with Pedrosa and Marquez glued to his back. Marquez, sitting behind Pedrosa after being passed at the start, decided it was time to take the initiative; in a tight left-hander, he tried to outbrake his teammate. But the attempt was a little too much for his RCV’s front tire, which momentarily locked. As Marquez explained later, he had to release the brakes and this put him on a collision course with Pedrosa. Because the turn was a left-hander, “in order to avoid the collision I decided to pass Dani on his right side and run off of the track,” explained Marquez.
This is the actual broken...
This is the actual broken wire for the rear wheel sensor on Pedrosa's RCV.
Obviously all this happened in fractions of second. Marquez managed to avoid taking both himself and Pedrosa out, but couldn’t avoid touching the rear swingarm of Pedrosa’s bike very slightly with his arm. It may have been a barely perceptible touch, but the impact was enough to cut the wire of the rear wheel speed sensor…which sends information to the traction control management system.
Here is a photo of the sensor...
Here is a photo of the sensor wire intact. Note how it hangs outward, exposing it to possible damage by incidental contact.
Pedrosa did not realize this when he opened the throttle as usual with Lorenzo just in front of him. With no traction control, it took less than a blink of the eye to see Pedrosa losing the rear end, then the tire catching and the diminutive Spaniard being flung into the air, landing on his hip and shoulder hard.
Meanwhile, Marquez had returned to the track after having lost only 1.9 seconds to Lorenzo. From that point on the race didn’t hold much drama. It didn’t take long for Marquez to catch and eventually pass Lorenzo. The brave World Champion did his best knowing that his front tire was completely spent.
In the end, Marquez made it to his sixth victory of the season, with Lorenzo second and Valentino Rossi stepping on the third step of the podium. With four races to go, only an unexpected situation can prevent Marquez clinching his first MotoGP title.
Getting back to Pedrosa’s bitter complaint, MotoGP Race Direction announced at the end of the day that the incident between the two Spanish Honda riders had been put under investigation. Marquez being the current darling of the series, it will be interesting to see what will come out of this situation.
Regardless of what happens with that situation, what is unquestionable is that Marquez really uses a high amount of aggressiveness in race situations. Probably nothing to be punished for, but certainly beyond the, let’s say, standard MotoGP level. It’s a situation that has a certain parallel with the late Marco Simoncelli, who also was blamed as a dangerous rider.