Espargaro lays into unapologetic Marquez over MotoGP towing tactics

Aleix Espargaro criticises Marc Marquez once more for his controversial waiting and slowing tactics to ensure he is directly behind a faster rival on a lap

Aleix Espargaro, Marc Marquez


Aleix Espargaro has once again called out six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez for his controversial tactic of waiting for another rider on track to tuck in behind and shadow in order to set a quicker lap time.

Though not the only rider to use such a strategy, the Spaniard has come in for repeated criticism for his brazen antics, which have included him waiting in pit-lane before emerging the moment an identified rider comes out and has also seen him go as far as stopping on track in wait for one to come past.

It was a process he employed during free practice and qualifying for this weekend’s Spanish MotoGP in Jerez, Marquez waiting on track for almost a minute, according to Espargaro, to allow the Aprilia rider to get ahead of him to tow.

With Miguel Oliveira and Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro also getting crossed up with Marquez as he dithered, Aleix urged Race Direction to clamp down on the tactic and stop giving leniency to him.

“It looks like I’m always crying about this, but it’s unbelievable. I don’t know what this guy is doing,” Espargaro said. “Everybody saw it. My brother almost crashed in T13. Then Gardner. Then Oliveira [when Marquez was returning to the pits after his first fall, and fell again].

“Then with me. I went out on track and there was nobody in pitlane. I went onto the back straight and there was nobody there. And he was stopping in the middle of the back straight, waiting for me for one minute. Unbelievable!

“I say ‘go, go, go’. And he doesn’t care. He looks behind. It’s just unbelievable. I will not blame him, but I will blame the people in Race Direction. He can do whatever he wants and no one says anything to him.

“People all the time say, ‘Moto3, Moto3, Moto3’ [has a problem with slow riding]. MotoGP is worse! What are they doing?”

Despite the criticism, Marquez remains unfazed and unapologetic about his tactics.

“This is normal with Aleix. This is motorcycling. Aleix always complains. If this year he is fast then he needs to be proud we are looking for his slipstream!” Marquez said. “Normally it was always the opposite.

“This year I am looking for his slipstream because he is third in the championship, he is riding very good and MotoGP is like this. You are looking for the fast riders to make the lap. 

“In this case I was just finishing the practice because I was riding with a bike I don’t like and I didn’t try to follow anybody.”