On the third lap of the opening grand prix of the 2023 MotoGP season, Marc Marquez locked the front wheel of his Honda RC213V while braking for Turn 3, trying to close the gap to Jorge Martin and Miguel Oliveira. As he did so, he clipped the Ducati of Martin, lost control, and barreled into the RNF Aprilia of Miguel Oliveira.
For that incident, Marc Marquez was handed a Double Long Lap Penalty, to be served at the Argentina GP the following week. But two days after the penalty notice was issued, the FIM Stewards issued a revised penalty, stating that Marquez was to serve the Double Long Lap Penalty at "the next MotoGP Race in which the rider will be able to participate".
That revised penalty has kicked off a controversial process which has gone on so long that the case has exceeded the term set for a hearing by the MotoGP Court of Appeal. As such, the penalty for Marc Marquez is no longer valid.
The FIM regulations set out very clearly that the MotoGP Court of Appeal must hear an appeal and issue a judgment within four weeks of the brief of appeal (basically, the letter from the appellant setting out their case) being received by the court. Section 3.4.4 of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship Regulations states the following:
3.4.4 Time limits to be observed for appeal hearings
The FIM Appeal Stewards must be convened to examine an appeal immediately after the brief of appeal is received.
The FIM Appeal Stewards must in all cases announce a decision immediately following the hearing of the appeal.
The MotoGP Court of Appeal must be convened to examine an appeal not later than 4 weeks after the brief of appeal is received.
The MotoGP Court of Appeal must in all cases pronounce a decision, within 4 weeks after the brief of appeal is received.
The timeline in this case, as set out in the MotoGP Court of Appeal's decision on the stay issued for the Marquez penalty, is as follows:
- On 26th March 2023, the FIM Stewards Panel handed Marc Marquez a Double Long Lap Penalty for causing the crash in which he hit Miguel Oliveira. The penalty was to be served in Argentina. Neither Marquez nor the Repsol Honda team appealed that original penalty.
- Marc Marquez decided to have surgery on the first metacarpal bone in his right thumb on the evening of the 26th March.
- On the 28th March 2023, the FIM Stewards Panel issued a revised penalty, stating that Marquez would have to serve the Double Long Lap Penalty at Argentina or the next MotoGP Race in which he participated.
- On 29th March 2023, within the 24-hour deadline for appeals to penalty notices, the Repsol Honda team appealed the change to the original penalty, stating that penalty notices are final once issued, and cannot be changed after the fact. They made their appeal to the FIM Appeal Stewards, and requested that the penalty be stayed (postponed) until the full appeal against the change of wording had been heard.
- The FIM Appeal Stewards, with a view to the importance of the case, immediately referred the Repsol Honda team's appeal to the MotoGP Court of Appeal.
- On 4th April, the MotoGP Court of Appeal issued a procedural order asking the Repsol Honda team to submit its reasons why they believed the penalty should be stayed, which they did within the deadline of 6th April.
- On 12th April, the MotoGP Court of Appeal ordered the stay of the Double Long Lap Penalty, pending a full hearing of the case.
The key phrase in the FIM Regulations is "within 4 weeks after the brief of appeal is received". The brief of appeal are the documents and information setting out the reasons the appellant (in this case, the Repsol Honda team) is appealing against the penalty issued.
When was the brief of appeal submitted? According to section 126.96.36.199, within 24 hours after an appeal was lodged.
188.8.131.52 Lodging of an appeal
To be admissible, the statement of appeal must be submitted in writing (appeal before the FIM Appeal Stewards) or submitted or sent by registered letter or special courier or by electronic mail to the FIM Executive Secretariat and postmarked (appeal before the MotoGP Court of Appeal).
The correct security deposit for appeal must be paid to the FIM MotoGP Stewards (appeal before the FIM Appeal Stewards) or paid in to the FIM Executive Secretariat (appeal before the MotoGP Court of Appeal).
Within 24 hours following the statement of appeal before the MotoGP Court of Appeal, the appellant assigns to the FIM Executive Secretariat a brief of appeal stating the facts.
If the appeal was not lodged and/or the security deposit for appeal not paid within the deadline specified in Article 184.108.40.206, the appeal will be declared inadmissible without hearing.
Yet when I approached the FIM for comment, I received the following reply: "29 March 2023 corresponds to the date of the statement of appeal and not to the brief of appeal which was submitted at a later date. As a consequence the deadline provided for in article 3.4.4 has not yet expired". When I asked when the case will be heard, I was told the FIM will deal with it "in due time".
I have also approached the Repsol Honda Team for confirmation of the date when the brief of appeal was filed, but they have not yet been able to provide that information.
Following this timeline, the hearing should have been held four weeks after Repsol Honda filed the brief of appeal with the MotoGP Court of Appeal. That had to be filed within 24 hours of the appeal being referred to the MotoGP Court of Appeal.
The Repsol Honda Team lodged the appeal with the FIM Appeal Stewards, and the Appeal Stewards referred the case to the MotoGP Court of Appeal. That happened on 29th March. The Repsol Honda Team must have filed the brief of appeal within 24 hours after the case was referred to the Court of Appeal, which is 30th March. Four weeks after 30th March is April 27th. That date has passed.
It is customary under civil law systems, such as the framework the FIM regulations operate in, for cases which have not been heard within the time limits set out in the law (or in this case, regulations) to be dismissed. The court is considered to have forfeited its right to hear the case, and the defendant or appellant is free of the penalty issued.
Therefore the logical conclusion from a close reading of the regulations is that the penalty handed down by the FIM Stewards at Portimão has been forfeited. The FIM, by not arranging for the case to be heard before he MotoGP Court of Appeal within four weeks of the appeal being filed, has by default lost the case. Marc Marquez should no longer have to serve the penalty issued at Portimão.
2023 has been a bad year for the FIM and penalties. There has been a constant list of complaints against the decisions of the FIM Stewards in the grand prix paddock, the main complaint being one of a lack of consistency. The changing of the wording of the penalty issued to Marquez was controversial enough, but to fail to hold a hearing of the appeal and suffer a de facto loss in the case adds insult to injury.
The original version of this story has been updated with information from a response from the FIM. It originally stated that the case had been dismissed. The FIM contests that, despite the rules being clear on the deadline for filing the brief of appeal. It will be updated again when I receive more information.
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Seriously, between some of the penalties handed down (or not) recently, it’s really, really hard to believe professional’s are at the helm. This would be bad enough at club level, but is incompressible for motorcycling’s premier World Championship.
I'm happy not to be the person telling Lin Jarvis about this (given what Fabio went through at Jerez)
Heh, I knew it (asked a lawyer) - I’m the kiwi looked it up in NZ law.
Wait until I tell you all their policies are worded similar 😂
In reply to Legally by Kate Adams
I see you posting on Twitter…
I see you posting on Twitter about your beef with Dorna - what exactly are you upset over?
Certainly confirms everyone's opinions about the idiocy of the the guys running the show. Frickin' unbelievble.
Incompetence or Deflection?
Perhaps they realised the FIM stewards panel had made another error and rather than having to acknowledge that with a ruling, forfeiting its right to hear the case keeps Honda happy and has the same overall result.
IMHO race direction needs to be accountable and consistent.
In reply to Incompetence or Deflection? by Morgs
This. It is incredible how…
This. It is incredible how many people are incredibly thin skinned
In reply to This. It is incredible how… by bduke01
What does that even mean?!…
What does that even mean?! Are you referring to the FIM? The stewards? Honda? Race direction? Who are “people”? I mean let’s face it, this is a bike racing website so chances are many of of us are quite literally thin of skin!
If this is ChatGPT at work I gotta say I’m not impressed….
Incompetence but given that the number of races MMarquez has missed due to injury directly resulting from the incident is plenty of penalty.
In reply to Penalty taken by rick650
No. if a burglar fall's from…
No. if a burglar fall's from his ladder while burgaling and brakes a leg, no court in the world will not punish him because "he has suffered enough" because of his broken leg
In reply to No. if a burglar fall's from… by janbros
Rolling the penalty forward jeopardizes rider safety by encouraging injured riders to participate when they are unfit just to serve the penalty. Hopefully, the FIM realized this all along, and they were merely trying to assuage Portugese rage after Portimao.
Furthermore, breaking your leg as a free man is not comparable to doing hard time.
In reply to Free man by phoenix1
Good luck to them. The only…
Good luck to them. The only safety at issue will be their own: if they are that injured to be a genuine safety concern they certainly won’t be anywhere close to on the pace.
The only person they’ll be threatening is themselves, snd Marc is the poster boy for how that works out from a health/career perspective.
And do you not recall a haggard Mick Doohan being helped aboard an NSR500, desperately trying to salvage a championship with a leg that was almost literally dead meat? I recall a lot of disbelief that he even attempted such a thing, but don’t recall any riders playing the “I’m scared for my safety” card.
In reply to Good luck to them. The only… by Seven4nineR
The riders' misgivings about…
The riders' misgivings about the fitness of a competitor is a separate issue, and one they would address with the MotoGP medical team. They wouldn't complain to the stewards about the application of penalties.
Doohan was competing of his own volition to salvage a world title. If a rider feels compelled to show up in Doohan's condition, or any state of injury, to serve a penalty and prevent its roll forward, the sport is pointlessly less safe than if the rider withdrew from the event. The self-inflicted injury and withdrawal is a greater points loss in many instances, than serving a double long lap penalty. Rolling forward penalties to serve a twisted misunderstanding of sports justice can only do harm.
In reply to No. if a burglar fall's from… by janbros
I suspect the injury would…
I suspect the injury would be considered in the determination of the punishment but not in the decision over guilt.
It is good that this is over…
It is good that this is over. I think the idea which appeared about injuries sustained in the incident versus injuries sustained outside of the incident is fair. It would still lead to the possibility of injuries being hidden until a fake Monday fall but nothing is perfect.
I'm not sure exactly how the stewards could be held accountable for their actions. Any judgement of the stewards' decisions would have to be free from bias. That rules out the manufacturers, teams, riders, fans and anybody with any interest in the results of races. What exactly would be at stake for the stewards ? How would you gauge their performance ? Any hard structure would churn out penalties just as absurd as Fabio's.
Would any relevant parties be able to further appeal against this none-decision? Although I agree with WaveyD that this should be over, not taking a decision is by far the worst outcome and a sign that you are not taking your responsibility as a "judge". And this also leads to further debate: in future appeals where the CAS does take a decision, it raises the question why they do in that case and not in this one.....
FIM didn't want to go on record ruling against Honda and MM
...so they let it die instead. Cowards.
If they intended to rule in favor of Honda they would have done it.
This is boring.
I'm bored of this.
In reply to This is boring. by nickridiculous
MotoGP™ Court of Appeal issues its final decision
Tuesday, 09 May 2023
Following the provisional decision of the MotoGP™ Court of Appeal pronounced on 12 April 2023 granting the stay of execution of the Application of the Sanction imposed on Marc Marquez, the Court still had to decide on the merits of the case considering inter alia the brief of appeal submitted by Marc Marquez and Team HRC – Repsol Honda Team on 17 April 2023.
The Court decided to annul the Application of the Sanction imposed on Marc Marquez, which was issued by the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Panel in connection with the Original Sanction.
The Court considered that the Double Long Lap Penalty imposed on Marc Marquez by the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Panel during the MotoGP Race of Portugal held on 26 March 2023 has been served by the non-participation of the Rider in the 2023 MotoGP™ Race of Argentina.
Marc Marquez is hence allowed to compete in the next race in which he will be able to participate, without any further sanction.
In reply to MotoGP™ Court of Appeal issues its final decision by nlastovi
backstory details of the…
backstory details of the court
The current state of affairs…
With the current state of affairs it certainly is ‘adding insult to injury’. I genuinely feel for you David and people like you, who have so much time and money invested in this sport. When off track actions smother on track racing, without explanation, spectators are left confused and short changed. Some fans will walk away if this nonsense continues and revenues will suffer as a consequence.
I’ve been a motorsport fan for 46 years (mainly two wheeled but not exclusively) and, with limited funds, choose to invest my subscription and race attendance monies carefully. F1 lost my interest and money many years ago, when off track nonsense surpassed on track action and stopped delivering value for money. I now get my 4 wheel fix from BTCC and WEC and feel my money is well spent. My 2 wheel racing funds have supported MotoGP, WSBK and BSB along with subscriptions like Motomatters.com but, I fear the MotoGP powers that be and race direction/stewards are rushing headlong into an abyss of bizarre decisions and handing out bizarre penalties without rhyme, reason or explanation, and that does not equate to value for money, for this spectator. My viewing subscriptions, race day tickets and online subscriptions are already paid up for MotoGP this season but I will think long and hard about future investment if this nonsense continues.