until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Why the latest Marquez MotoGP return should be different

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

This weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix will see Marc Marquez make his third return from the arm injury that he suffered at Jerez in July 2020, thanks to the repeated complications that the Repsol Honda rider has suffered after shattering his right humerus bone and rushing back to racing only days later. But, with the lessons of past mistakes burned into his mind now, this attempt should be better – and realistically needs to be if he’s to continue in MotoGP.

From the point Marquez exacerbated his injury with a rushed initial comeback, his life has been a pain-riddled nightmare. Needing a second operation on the arm, picking up a bone infection that necessitated a long stay in hospital and finally requiring a bone graft from his pelvis to stabilise it, he was eventually able to return to action only after the 2021 season had already kicked off without him.

It looked like he was back to his old ways with three wins, even if a different subsequent injury ended his 2021 season early, after a concussion suffered during training meant that his double vision problems from 10 years earlier returned.

However, in that cautious return to racing in 2021 was a sign that something had changed – that his brush with a potentially career-ending injury had taught him (and many of his rivals) a lesson about coming back before you’re ready.

Marc Marquez MotoGP Honda

And while many will be questioning once again whether this weekend is the right time to come back, it’s hard to argue that every decision he’s taken with his latest surgical intervention has been conditioned by anything other than mid-to-long-term thinking.

When he did come back again seemingly fully fit at the start of 2022, something never quite felt right. It always looked like the former champion wasn’t sitting comfortably on the bike, holding the bars at an unusual angle – and as a result, he was not finding the dominating speed he once had.

Though this was initially dismissed as an issue more with a lack of physical strength than anything else, a bombshell announcement followed at the Italian Grand Prix in May: his arm had never healed properly, and one final make-or-break surgery would be required to either allow him to live a normal, pain-free life or to end his entire MotoGP career in a flash.

That’s because when the bone had fully healed last time around (following the infection and graft), it had done so at an angle. A huge 34º offset from where it should have been, in fact. The reason for Marquez’s unnatural position on the bike wasn’t stiffness or weakness – it was a bone that was completely off.

Marc Marquez Honda MotoGP

The USA-based latest surgery has twisted it back into the right place and it has now been allowed to heal naturally.

With it having been over 100 days since he last raced in MotoGP, last week’s two-day test at Misano was a key outing for Marquez, his first chance in nearly four months to verify that he had enough strength to ride a MotoGP bike at a competitive speed. It went well, Marquez completing 100 laps in the two days, and the final decision on whether to return in Aragon was pinned on how he felt in the days following the exertion.

Obviously, that went well because he’s racing this weekend – but it only came with the absolute say-so of his doctors and physiotherapists. Still with a long route ahead of him to return to his old form, at least he now has six races where he gets to do the single best form of physio available to a racer – riding a bike.

Don’t expect miracles from him before the start of the 2023 season (although this is of course Marc Marquez, so a few might happen). But it’s also not right to suggest that this return from injury, one very different from the previous ones, is any form of insanity.

Instead, it’s a carefully calculated decision made by a very different person from the one who crashed in Jerez in 2020 – and one that will hopefully pay off.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks