The penalty handed to Marc Marquez for crashing with Miguel Oliveira in the Portuguese MotoGP has been postponed by the FIM Court of Appeal.
As a result of the MotoGP Court of Appeals’ recognition of the appeal’s legality, the Honda MotoGP team has been successful in getting a “stay of execution” on Marc Marquez’s revised double long lap penalty.
The FIM stewards originally handed Marquez a double long lap penalty to be served at the Argentina Grand Prix. However, the penalty was then revised to state that Marquez would serve it at the following round after being forced to withdraw from the Termas and Austin rounds due to injury.
The MotoGP stewards issued a revision as it became clear that the wording may have allowed Marquez to evade serving the penalty by not being on track by skipping a round. The correction stated that the sanction would be applied to the next race Marquez raced.
This did not sit well with Honda, and it objected to the penalty revision. The MotoGP Appeal Stewards at Termas took up the case, and they quickly forwarded it to the MotoGP Court of Appeal.
In regards to Honda’s appeal, the Court of Appeal has not yet made a decision. However, it made a decision about Honda’s concurrent request to postpone the penalty until the dispute is settled, so recognizing some merit in Honda’s position.
According to the Court of Appeal’s ruling, which was delivered on April 13, Honda asserted that the stay of execution had a “reasonable chance of success for the appeal” and that denying it could impair Marquez’s chances of winning the 2023 championship “irreparably.”
In defending its position, Honda claimed that the “ex post facto” change to the penalty phrasing “violated the right [of Marquez] to a due process as well as the principle of legal certainty” — that is, the predictability and clarity of the legal system.
Primarily, the Court of Appeal has agreed that “at least one of the justifications relied on by the appellants does not appear unfounded” — that is, at first look.
The Court also views the fact that the appeal stewards had submitted the case to it as supporting evidence, describing this as “an indication revealing the complexity of the legal issues for which no immediate and obvious solution was available.”
But it has also made it clear that the double long lap penalty could be introduced in any upcoming race.
it was also stated that the Court may “provide an alternative solution for this case,” which it feels empowered to do when extrapolating from Article 1.19.2 of the FIM grand prix world championship regulations, which permits “equivalent” penalties in situations where a long-lap penalty couldn’t be assessed or served in time before the end of a particular race.
For Marquez, the’stay of execution’ would have been crucial as he approached his preferred Circuit of the Americas, which is hosting this weekend’s MotoGP.
As his injury recovery goes on, Marquez has chosen to skip the COTA round, therefore this particular Court of Appeal decision will only be significant if the main appeal isn’t resolved before the April 28–30 weekend in Jerez.