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MotoGP Dutch GP

Martin hit with grid penalty for MotoGP Dutch GP after qualifying incident

Martin to start Sunday's Dutch GP from fifth after MotoGP qualifying impeding penalty

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin has been hit with a three-place grid penalty for the 2024 Dutch Grand Prix after impeding Raul Fernandez in qualifying.

Pramac Ducati rider Martin qualified second on the grid at Assen and stayed there in Saturday’s 13-lap sprint, losing out to title rival Francesco Bagnaia.

A number of riders tripped over each other and aborted laps during qualifying, as they either sought tows or looked to stop being followed, with Martin among those caught up in this.

Video footage shows him backing off into Turn 1, with just over three minutes to go, and gesticulating at the traffic in front of him before looking behind him.

Trackhouse Racing’s Fernandez is behind Martin on track at this moment, but it is not clear at what point through Turns 2 and 3 – where the FIM stewards have identified the incident took place – that the Aprilia rider catches a slowing Martin.

Martin is then seen running well wide around Turn 4, with Fernandez coming underneath him before they make slight contact into Turn 5. The Pramac rider tagged the back of Fernandez as he slowed up to vent frustration at Martin.

Initially releasing a document stating that Martin was being punished for an incident in second practice on Friday, the stewards quickly clarified the offence was in Q2.

Martin will drop from second on the grid to fifth, promoting Maverick Vinales to second, Alex Marquez to the front row in third and Aleix Espargaro to fourth.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The FIM document read: “On 29 June 2024 at 11:36.33, during the Qualifying 2 session at the Motul TT Assen, you [Martin] were observed to be riding slow on-line [and] disturbing another rider - #25 [Fernandez] – at Turns 2-3.

“This contravenes the specific instructions given to MotoGP competitors and teams [regarding] disrupting the session, and is considered irresponsible riding. It is therefore an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship regulations.

“For the above reasons, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel has imposed a three grid positions penalty for the Motul TT Assen MotoGP race.”

As this was a first offence for Martin this season, the punishment has been kept lenient.

Martin’s penalty has been issued specifically for the Dutch GP, rather than the next grand prix in which he competes – wording that came into use last year after the controversy surrounding the changing of language used in a punishment given to Marc Marquez in Portugal.

Under the current wording of Martin’s penalty, should he be unable to take the start of the GP on Sunday due to an injury, he would not have to serve that grid drop.

On a number of occasions since that alternate wording came into use, however, stewards’ notifications on penalties have been inconsistent as to which line they use.

Martin is now just 15 points clear of Bagnaia in the championship following the Assen sprint race. He explained afterwards that he struggled for front-end support through Turns 6 and 12 during the 13-lap race.

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