Marquez to start fourth after being stripped of Austin pole

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez surrendered pole to Maverick Vinales following his sanction for riding slowly on the racing line in Austin.

Published : Apr 22, 2018 05:22 IST

Marc Marquez will start from fourth position at Grand Prix of the Americas after the MotoGP champion was demoted from pole following a three-place grid penalty. 

Marquez enjoyed pole for no more than three hours after the Repsol Honda star was sanctioned for riding slowly on the racing line in Austin on Saturday.

A five-time winner of the race at the Circuit of the Americas, Marquez was subject of an investigation after his slow-moving antics frustrated Movistar Yamaha's Maverick Vinales in pursuit of pole position.

Vinales abandoned his first flying lap after Marquez appeared in his countryman's way as the latter secured a sixth Austin pole with a time of two minutes, 3.658 seconds.

However, Marquez will now line up in fourth position for Sunday's race, behind Vinales – who takes over pole – Andrea Iannone and Johann Zarco.

Marquez attempted to explain the incident afterward, saying: "I was looking more at Iannone. Because a rider behind can improve a lot in the slipstream here and Iannone was fastest yesterday.

"So I was looking at Iannone and didn't expect Maverick. When I heard the engine behind I moved in, but it looks like I disturbed his lap.

"Race Direction said [the punishment] was because I was on the racing line and Iannone was out of the line. But okay, I only lose four metres behind on the grid." 

It is not the first time Marquez has been caught up in controversy this season after the Spaniard incurred the wrath of Valentino Rossi.

Marquez was accused of destroying the sport by seven-time world champion Rossi, who was hit from behind in Argentina last time out after the Honda rider also made contact with Aleix Espargaro, having delayed the start in Buenos Aires.

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