Marc Marquez will make his second appearance of the 2023 MotoGP season at Le Mans this weekend as he returns to action from injuries sustained in the season opener.
The works Honda rider fractured a bone in his right-hand thumb, the first metacarpal, after crashing into Jorge Martin and Miguel Oliveira in the Portuguese Grand Prix in March.
He has not competed in any of the three rounds since and said at last month’s Spanish GP at Jerez that he could have risked career-ending damage to his hand had he attempted a comeback there.
But Honda said three three separate medical teams had been consulted ahead of this weekend’s French GP and that “all involved are satisfied with the healing of the bone” to the extent that Marquez has been cleared to ride.
Confirmation of Marquez’s return said his main objective would be “getting back into the flow of a grand prix weekend and picking up where Marquez and the Honda RC213V left off”, Marquez having taken a shock pole and sprint race podium at Portimao prior to his fall in the main race.
“I want to thank my medical team for their professionalism and advice over the past few weeks,” said Marquez.
“Of course as a rider you always want to be back as soon as possible, but with an injury like this it was really important to allow it to heal.
“Now I am here and fully focused on riding, I have no worries about the injury since it’s fully healed. Let’s see what the French GP brings and most importantly, work to our maximum.”
Marquez, a three-time winner at Le Mans, will contest the weekend without a long-lap penalty hanging over him following the decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal to scrap the sanction that had been carried over from Portugal.
The six-time premier class champion was held at fault for the Portimao crash, which also prevented Oliveira from competing at the following round in Argentina, and was initially awarded a long-lap penalty by the stewards to be served at the Termas de Rio Hondo round in Argentina as a result.
When it was confirmed that Marquez would miss that race the wording of the penalty was amended from being directly applicable to the Argentina race to the next one in which he competed, which was immediately appealed by Honda.
The Court of Appeal found on Tuesday that the stewards’ decision had been made “without justifying reasons irregularly and wrongly amends the original sanction” and cancelled it as a result, while acknowledging the clash had been a result of Marquez’s ‘overly aggressive’ riding.