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MotoGP

‘I need this’ – Why suffering Marquez is refusing Dutch TT exit

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

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Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez has acknowledged an extra motivation to seeing out the Dutch TT weekend at Assen – even if it will likely prove fruitless results-wise.

Marquez, who crashed five times during the German Grand Prix weekend and ultimately missed the Sunday race, elected to return to action less than a week later at Assen despite being limited physically.

And while an ankle problem and a thumb fracture have not proven huge limitations upon his return to the RC213V on Friday, the same cannot be said for Marquez’s cracked rib.

“I expected to not suffer so much but I was suffering,” he explained after Friday’s action.

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“The ankle, and the finger is broken, but this was OK, acceptable. But the rib, the second rib, in the last sector it’s painful and especially when I start to breathe more and more and more, it’s more and more pain.

“And then I’m losing a lot of time.

“I don’t feel well. On the other weekends I felt good and I was able to push. But this weekend… I didn’t race at the Sachsenring because I was not feeling well, I felt pain everywhere. And after four days we’re again on the bike. So the body in four days – yeah, it recovered a little bit, but it’s still painful, especially, as I said, the rib. So, yeah, I feel a big limitation there, I cannot go for anything this weekend. I can’t.

“Every time I use this muscle, the pectoral, it’s painful. And braking points, change of direction, you’re using all the time the pectoral.

“But OK. Let’s see how tomorrow is. I know that it will be a bit worse because I already feel worse. But the target is to finish the weekend.”

Marquez was not meaningfully competitive for most of Friday, and doesn’t stand to gain much from even picking up a small handful of points, given his championship situation is effectively immaterial after his crashes and long early-season absence.

He’d cited the need to help Honda develop the RC213V as a motivation for tackling Assen anyway, but while that has remained – he pointed out that both he and Honda stablemate Takaaki Nakagami are ‘back-to-back’ testing the Kalex chassis and the standard Honda frame, as well as trying out electronics solution – there is a different motivating factor, too.

A long summer break, stretching into early August, will follow Assen, and Marquez said it would’ve been too mentally difficult for him to end this part of the season on a note like his German GP weekend.

“With the feeling of Sachsenring, being two months without bikes, believe me that is not the best for a rider,” he said.

Marc Marquez

“So I need this weekend. I need it for the mental side, I need to keep riding, keep going.

“And of course, when you have a difficult moment… the motivation is not there, but you need to keep your routines, you need to keep the same way to work, the same way to believe, believe in changing the situation in the future. But [staying] at home this situation will never change.”

Marquez said the risk of highsiding off the Honda at speed was another reason he was pushing through the first two sectors and then just seeing out the lap.

And ultimately, when latching onto the back of the fairly rapid Aprilia RS-GP of Maverick Vinales in the closing stages of Friday practice offered a potential glimpse of a Q2 spot, Marquez pushed hard early on and swiftly tucked the front in a “very soft crash” at Ossebroeken.

“I was all the day, like, cruising and trying things, and then from one run to another being one second and a half faster, is not easy. And it’s there where I did the mistake, because I was not used to arriving on that speed on that corner,” he said.

“It was Maverick in front, I lost like one tenth and a half on the straight more or less, and then I tried to recover in that corner, because it was the way to try to recover and try to not be as close as possible exit of [Turn] 5, because again there I will lose one and a half tenths more.

“So, this was the main reason.”

Marquez described his qualifying target as simply avoiding the last row of the grid.

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