Marc Marquez escapes Malaysia grid penalty after collision in Spain
Lorenzo accuses MotoGP leader of putting other riders at risk after high-speed crash at Aragon
MotoGP front-runner Marc Marquez escaped a grid penalty yesterday over a high-speed collision, boosting his chances of extending his championship lead this week in Malaysia.
Officials handed the rookie a penalty point for contact with Dani Pedrosa, which sent his fellow Spaniard crashing out of last month's Aragon grand prix.
But Marquez, 20, avoided the heavier fine of two penalty points, which would have forced him to start at the back of the grid at the Malaysian grand prix on Sunday.
As well as the one-point penalty, which brings his season total to three, Marquez was stripped of the constructors' points earned for his victory at Aragon, Spain.
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who trails Marquez by 39 points in the standings, had earlier urged officials to be tough with the youngster.
Safety is again in focus at Malaysia's Sepang circuit after two people died in an accident last month, two years after the fatal crash of young Italian star Marco Simoncelli.
"The mistake[by Marquez] was not as serious as others, but if you sum them up then I say that he is a very aggressive rider who puts himself and others at risk," Lorenzo said.
Race officials have again promised that the Sepang circuit is safe after a rider hit a marshall late last month during practice for the Malaysian Super Series, killing both.
"The incident … has nothing to do with the safety aspect. It's a tragic incident," Sepang chief executive Razlan Razali said, dismissing the accident as a one-off.
But he said the mood was still "emotional" at the course on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. A tribute will be paid to the two men tomorrow.
In 2011, Honda rider Simoncelli, 24, lost control of his bike and died in an accident at Sepang's turn 11. A bronze plaque at the turn honours him.
Lorenzo, who secured his first MotoGP title at Sepang in 2010, said he was keen to recover some points from Marquez with four races left this season.
"The championship is difficult, but we want to fight until the end. Let's see what happens," he said.
Pedrosa is third in the standings, while nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi is fourth and still mathematically capable of winning this year's title.