Marc Marquez Expects To Be Ready For Sepang MotoGP Test

Marc Marquez completed 65 laps of the Portimão circuit on Sunday, after his first return to riding a street bike since his training accident in October 2021, which saw him suffer a concussion and diplopia. After a long recovery period, Marquez rode a motocross bike last week, and told the media during the HRC motorsports launch on Friday that he hoped to do a test at a Grand Prix track soon. Soon turned out to be Sunday, and the Grand Prix track turned out to be Portimão.

After initial posts on social media, today, the Repsol Honda team issued an official press release with details of the test, as well as a video, in which Marc Marquez gives his impression of the test. The news is very positive: Marquez had no issues with his vision, despite riding at over 300km/h, and felt happy and comfortable on the bike.

Marquez did notice all of the time he has spent off the bike, the statement said, feeling that he still had some way to go in his physical preparation to be ready to ride a MotoGP bike again. He will spend the next few weeks training on a motorcycle more often, and intends to travel to Sepang for the MotoGP test there on February 5th and 6th.

The video and press release from the Repsol Honda team appear below:


Marc Marquez completes positive track test in Portimao

Days after returning to motorcycle riding on the motocross track, Marc Marquez’s recovery took another step forward with a full day of riding the Honda RC213V-S in Portugal.

For the first time since winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on October 24, 2021, Marc Marquez was back on a closed race circuit as he continued to assess the development and improvement of his diplopia. Completing a total of 65 laps over the course of the day, Marquez and his team were able to further evaluate his current condition in the lead up to the 2022 MotoGP World Championship.

The eight-time World Champion was first and foremost overjoyed to experience the thrill of riding again after his forced break. Marquez reported no major concerns with his diplopia during the day and was left pleased and optimistic with the day’s work. Attention now turns to the first pre-season test at the Sepang International Circuit in early February, Marquez working to be fit and ready to return to his Repsol Honda Team RC213V.

Marc Marquez

“I am feeling very happy, first to be back on a bike at the track and also because we were able to confirm the sensations I had on a motocross bike here with the road bike. It’s a great feeling, a feeling of relief because when I was riding, I didn’t have any discomfort with my vision. Since I haven’t ridden in so long, I did notice some physical areas where I’m missing a little bit but this is just because I have not been able to have my usual pre-season. There’s a margin to improve but the positive and the fundamental take away from this test was to reconfirm the feeling we had when we first got on the motocross bike and to enjoy the good feeling of speed. I have completed an intense day of riding with long runs, I am very happy with the results. We have two weeks until testing begins in Sepang so I will take the opportunity to intensify my physical preparation and train on the bike.”

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Comments

Thats gotto be good news for everyone who loves the sport

My question, and it's kind of a stupid question, is:

whos bike is this?

It it Marc's? Does HRC just keep it at their Spanish base in case one of the Marquez brother's wants a wazz on a GP circuit? It seems like kind of weird bike choice. Aren't RCV213V-S collectors items/museum pieces? Seems like it might be easier to rustle up a tasty blade for the odd trackday.

Whatever.

Great that Marc's going to be in Sepang. It'd be cool if he's fit enough to fight for a tittle, but it's still cool if he decides to retire with functioning binocular vision!

To a motogp racer its a racing bike but to the rest of us it's an investment or lounge piece! The Rcv is the closest thing to his real bike in terms of weight,stiffness and power and the best bike  available for Marcs shakedown ride at a GP circuit He has a blade which is a totally different animal being  an inline4 engine that he uses for training at a couple of goat track circuits occasionally. 

What if Honda only start with the 'stock' V-S but then add/replace the parts for Marc that differ from his race bike? Would anyone know? Is there a rule against it? He might not get pneumatic valves or maybe not the full fat seamless gearbox but I bet he could get something that isn't too far off. I wonnder if that was one of their thoughts going in the way Ducati has in WSBK lately or Suzuki did in endurance racing with the original GSXRs...make the race bike first, then make it street legal. Gives something to test on if the rules should happen to limit testing on the real thing.

tests of an official rider and the bike setup have to be reported to DORNA - as far as i know.

There is kind of a black/whitelist for parts that can be used or are prohibited. I'm not quite sure but there even riders that got penalty points for using the wrong bike setup/spec on their test runs.

Right Wolf? Quartararo having a go last yr on a production based racebike got a wrist slap. 

No carbon brakes, no Michelin GP tires is a start. Funny though, they MAY be able to do a Moto2 bike - "not if same displacement" is in there somewhere. And, registering for permission for something new/different? That got Quarty. 

Just like his return last year, his first big off will have everyone holding their breath. Remember Le Mans? I thought it might be all over right there and then. HRC have come to the party and seem committed to making a more rideable bike and if there's any factory capable of pulling it off in short order it has to be them.

All of the GOAT's change things up as they age which prolongs their career and lets them push their legacy out and keep racking up the "all time" numbers. HRC and Marc seem to have finally pivoted in this direction. Here's an interesting comparison..

Michael Jordan.

Throughout his 20's he was one of the most athletically gifted human beings to have ever lived. He would out-run you, out-jump you, out-compete you. What he lacked in shooting ability back then he made up with fire in his belly and a truly psychotic desire to destroy you both physically and psychologically. This was one side of his personality that people still criticise him for but it's what sets them apart from the pretenders. All of the GOAT's are like this. They are wired differently.

Michael's (first) peak came between 1990 & 1993 where he won two season MVPs, three straight Championships with three Finals MVP's, three scoring titles.. NBA 1st team selections in offence and defence.. and an Olympic Gold Medal. He won it all and was unquestionably the best at both ends of the floor and he did it in the face of top-5 all time players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and his nemesis "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons that beat him down every year prior. He went through them head-to-head and finally proved that he was the best.

People were calling him the GOAT.

Then he abruptly retired for a year at his absolute peak.

Then he came back.

Upon returning late in the 94-95 he had some amazing "he's still got it" performances but ultimately failed to get over the hump in the playoffs that year. He committed a critical turnover late in a pivotal elimination game and it cost them the game, the series and the fairytale.

People started to question if he was still the same Michael. Could he keep up with these young and hungry champions-in-waiting? The league had taken a step forward in his wake and he had lost half a step whilst out of the game for that year. He came up short whilst showing flashes of brilliance. This sounds awfully familiar.

That offseason, obviously in a clear state of GOAT psychosis he adjusted his game to accommodate him moving beyond his athletic prime. So he added to his arsenal and changed his game up. He developed an impossible to guard turn around jump shot which became his new signature move that you simply couldn't stop. It was as beautiful as any "jumpman" logo style dunk that he ever pulled off in the past. He backed you down and could turn, jump and fade away from the defending player - over either shoulder - and you knew and he certainly knew that you couldn't stop it. Nothing but net. All day. He was still arguably the most athletic player in the league but he knew that father time takes no prisoners so he adapted his game and it prolonged his peak well into his 30's.

So he finally lined up on the grid at the start of the 1995-96 season completely committed to assuming his rightful place at the top. The result? The Bulls went 72-10 that year (and became the most winningest team in history by doing so) and Jordan racked up another 2 MVP's - another 3 straight championships with 3 Finals MVP's, 3 more scoring titles and yet again 1st team all offence and defence - 2 all star MVP's. He did all of this head-to-head against future first ballot Hall of Famers and was again the best player in the game without question. If you happened to doubt that he was the GOAT before, you certainly weren't any more. Unquestionably the best to ever do it. A career arc of perfection.

The undisputed GOAT.

Right now Marc and HRC are developing their turn around jump shot.

Mick did it. Michael did it. Marc? I don't doubt it for a second that he might just do it too.

Built different.

And on that break, didn't Jordan play professional BASEBALL?! 

Tiger Woods just sunset-ed. Aqua Petronas had quite an experience last yr with their sunset, it nearly took the team splashing down with it. 

This current era we are in for GP's, it is REALLY good. 2017 through now ish. Or just post-CRT? Anyway, it isn't about one rider. Or two bikes. I don't fear a GOAT dominating inordinately now! This is GOOD. I could quote Rossi about Marc and "upgrades," but it is all behind us.

However, JUST started concern that Ducati could be ending our last era with help from Yamaha guttering. We may soon say "The early period w Championship electronics saw (x) different riders and (y) different bikes win and podium. Rossi was still there. Then the next period of Ducati Dominance, pursued by Honda began." There will be a phrase you will start hearing, like "Ducati Power" "Alien" etc that becomes Canon. "Ducati Dominance" has a ring to it to title a period. The riders will be named. After V5 Honda, we say Rossi. I really do honestly anticipate odds of Quartararo and Ducati getting ink on paper is pretty high. Even with their full strong stable, so it means even more. If they can have two of the three established overdog riders, will they? Yes. Red in PARTICULAR has had a hunger for "that rider" atop their minds. Their bike is in demand. Martin and Bastiannini have to fight for it. The only secure Factory seat is Bagnaia's. 

The times, they are a-chaangin

I'm hearing reports that MM93 may be taking another year off to pursue a career in Ice Hockey.

Reports may or may not have come from voices within the dark recesses of my mind.

Marquez could be the new Brad Marchand. Google him if you don’t know NHL players. Dirty little bastard but very effective at scoring goals. And it’s called Hockey, not Ice Hockey. Our version was the first, so it’s all the other forms of hockey that need to have an identifier word in front!

Signed, A Proud Canuck
😜

I don't see a meaningful "Ducati Era" without a Ducati championship. And we haven't seen one in a good, long time.

Fair enough. Pecco is the bookie's favorite. Just sharing my tea leaves extrapolating further. I've been wrong before. 

Would you say we are likely to have more of the same then? I am sincerely having a strong sense that a pivot of change is afoot. It isn't what I wanted btw, that would have been the conventional smaller Suzuki project stepping forward further. If there is something clouding my judgment, it might be exhaustion of hope/frustration with Yamaha. Then over playing the other cards in my head. It is REALLY interesting what is going on right now! It has been since 2017, but I think it just hit a 2 stroke powerband. If Yamaha takes a solid step forward and Quartararo stays/Suzuki continues mild slow progress while keeping or signing the rider level likes of Mir, and Pecco/Martin falter with a Red bike that loses the drive out it is on? I will eat crow and examine the faulty thinking. It is a fresh strong thought for me via long convergence of factors. 

No disrespect to Dovi, especially given that that bike was not as good as this one. But I think Bagnaia is a step forward in the new style. And the bike too has arrived similarly.

Sorry to wax on, but we have also just gotten Quartararo and Pecco as top GP riders, what a great cultural time as well. Genuinely warm and friendly. Pecco is very intelligent, and straightforward. Quarty so much heart.

And then Mir got on a brand new Honda. And Quartararo...?

I could also be wrong but i strongly suspect the 'off days' for Ducati will be a lot worse than Yamaha's. The bump in the road will drop the Yamaha's five places and the Ducati ten. Peco's mid-season slump in 2021 was common to all Ducati. Fabio's arm pump, bare chested Rambo and the Spielberg washout hide that Aragon was their only off day before the title was sealed. Qatar 1 maybe but that was won by a Yamaha. Yamaha is lacking a bit of everything just like every other bike. Jeremy's maxim still holds true. Ducati's front will finish their chances...again.

^ Well put and interesting. And, just saw a fresh quote from Joan Mir on the Ducati that finished 2021 vs the one that ended 2020.

"Last year I was able to see that when they started with all that power, it was massive. But then at the end of the race, they were struggling to turn the bike a bit more than us and also on acceleration when the tyre was getting more used, it's logical that when you have more power you use the tyre more," explained the Suzuki rider.

"[This time], I didn't see any loss of performance in the last laps, for me it was the opposite. They are even stronger on the end of the race. So it's not easy to understand."

"I don't see any weak points, and this is something that I'm worried about. And they are able to be fast with a lot of different styles. So we have work to do if we want to fight again next year, because for sure they will be really strong."

Quarty just said "It’s super tough for us to overtake [them]. Also it looks like they made a massive step on the bike and not just the engine. How fast they are on one lap, how fast they are in the race…

"[2021] was the first time they made 1-2-3 in qualifying. All their riders made a massive step. We need to make a massive step because we are way too far."

Mir looks gone, has a handshake but no ink on paper yet. Quartararo looks to be seriously seeking a move. 

The aero plus ride height device developments are a big boon to V4 power. The latter has JUST come into its own. Immediately on the tails of the Duc turning great? Boom. 

Yamaha MUST have two or even three steps forward with outright engine power mixed with drive grip effective across more conditions and track surfaces. And before the season starts. Or, risk losing their Quarty. Crossroads. 

Ducati will have to wait one more year. 2023 champion?

Jorge Martin. 

I have a hard time seeing past Marquez to win it this year, though. 

 

I don't think Fabio would say anything else. What work do we need to do ? Nothing, everything is perfect ? Noooooo we are going to finish last if we don't act now !

Always healthy to have a little uncertainty about jumping ship too. Helps with pay and can help with factory commitment. Same can be said for Mir. However, Suzuki are not in a position to win a championship.

I still think that in terms of performance they were not in a position to win the 2020 championship, they were blessed to have Mir in that turbulent year not because he could extract extra tenths where others could not but because he can extract the potential of the bike when others cannot...week in week out. Mir jumping ship ? I think he will unless something drastic is happening behind the scenes.

Mugello - Silverstone

Peco - DNF, 7, 5, 6, 11, 2, 14 (Podium was the washout)

Jack - 6, 3, 6, DNF, DNF, 11, 4

Zarco - 4, 2, 8, 4, 6, DNF, 11

Martin - DNS, 14, 12, DNF, 1, 3, DNF

Fabio - 1, 6, 3, 1, 3, 7, 1 (Tarzan and washout the only non podiums)

It's not clear with Yamaha, their other riders had awful seasons. Riders here there and everywhere. So I think we can only look at Fabio which is then therefore, a very uncertain gauge of the Yamaha. This period of the season was/is Ducati's problem. The deciding round in Misano is also a good example. Ignoring the amazing ride by Bastianini on the old bike because it's the old bike, 3 out of 4 2021 bikes dropped the front. It was too often the speed of heat or nowhere.

I think the Ducati is a rocket when things are right...when not it's a nightmare. 2020 Yamaha also, 2021 Yamaha not....2022 we shall see.

 

I often wonder if Fabio to Ducati and Mir to Honda would backfire on them both in spectacular fashion.

Fabio's market value has never been stronger and if he's smart I reckon he will use every last bit of that leverage to get paid and get Yamaha to dump dollars into the development slush fund. He and his management sound like they're up to the task.

Is it possible that Ducati get caught out with the new rubber and start pushing the front too hard all over again? As you mentioned WaveyD, the front end *still* has a tendency to fold. With a little more encouragement from the rear this could become a nightmare for the Ducks in short order.

The front of the Ducati is problem or not I don't know but end results of dropping the front is what we see of it. There's a lot to it...engine, software, tyre choice, aero and on and on. I have no idea the cause but the new fairing was stated in the post season test as helping to make the bike easier on pitch in. Also worth noting that more Ducati equals more Ducati dropping the front. I know nothing of the new rubber but if it makes a difference it could just as well make a positive difference as a negative one. That's the point, there is no certainty to Ducati having a good year, average year or nightmare in terms of results because the difference between >10th and podium is often a very small 'per lap' difference these days.

I don't think Fabio has to work hard to convince Yamaha. 'The bike has issues but the team is amazing' and the odd rumour would do it. From Yamaha's perspective it's simple, 'We like winning ? We didn't win since 2015, what has changed ? Ok, we do what we need to do to keep that guy !' 2021 was not 2004 we've seen this coming since 2018/19 but I suspect the feeling about Fabio is similar to Rossi or Lorenzo. They've found a very important member of staff and they'll try very hard to keep him.

Just maybe , Marc realized HRC was looking hard at other riders and could end up with a very good rider on the other side of the garage 

 

Mat Oxley's latest article in Motorsport is worth a read. Deeper dive into the Aprilia via interview, good candid specific info in there. The guy running the show there is very chassis savvy. Good quotes from Aleix as well. I will come back and put a few details here for consideration on a work break...(David, if this isn't something you think should be here out of respect to Mat and Motorsport, please delete and I won't include so much of it in the future. Thanks!)

Aleix speaks about the bike frankly -

Big improvements arrived in 2021 because Aprilia was able to properly develop its new bike for the first time. Although the company has MotoGP concessions (which allow it to upgrade engines and do lots of testing, unlike the other factories), those were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. So Aprilia raced all of 2020 with a prototype engine and an aero package that was all wrong.

Last season much-improved downforce aero and reduced engine friction improved acceleration, a revised chassis balance made the bike stop better and an impressive five-kilo weight reduction helped all around.

“The biggest improvement for last season was the full bike, overall,” says Espargaró, who’s been at Aprilia since 2017. “The 2021 bike didn’t have unbelievable acceleration or traction, but it got better in almost every area, especially acceleration, because Aprilia worked so hard on the wings.

“Now we need to make the bike turn better and generate more grip. I think the chassis is too rigid, so it doesn’t generate much grip and so it doesn’t turn enough off the brakes. Vinales is asking for the exact same thing.”

Several very interesting statements from technical director Romano Albesiano, first about a 2021 focus on improvements in braking via changing where the engine was located -

"Centre of gravity position. The step forward we made in aerodynamics also helped a lot in the braking phase. Also, we are now better exploiting the potential of the engine as a brake, with extensive use of an exhaust valve." 

2021 had 3 steps of engine improvement after the wick was turned back up to 2019 redline.

"New piston liners gave us a friction reduction and some optimisations in the oil circuit helped."

Next?

“For sure we are expecting an interesting step in engine performance again.

“However, I’m pushing my team to really focus on stopping because we still don’t have top performance in this phase, so we still need to optimise in this area, which is very difficult to manage. It’s also a cheaper way of finding a better lap time – if you optimise in this area maybe you don’t have to spend a million Euros developing high-revving engines or special materials. You just need to use your intelligence.

“It’s complicated because it’s a matter of the general balance of the bike and engine-braking character and how you use their potential. Also, it’s about clutch behaviour. There’s not much talk about the clutch but the clutch is a key element in the braking phasing and very important.”

They only had one chassis all year, here are details -

Aleix used the same chassis spec he used at the start of the year, but we did test some lighter and softer versions.

“It’s very, very difficult to test chassis, because to make a proper test with a chassis you need a lot of time, you need perfect conditions, you need a top rider and you need different tracks, so to develop a new chassis you need a huge amount of time and resources. It’s not easy, because even if you design and produce all the parts maybe you cannot test them fully.”

^ Is this reflecting a lacking in their Test Team perhaps?

It was mentioned that "Aleix told us he feels the chassis is too rigid…"

Albesiano - “Looking at some other chassis, maybe some are more flexible but looking at them they appear stiffer, so I honestly don’t know. We have made a lot of developments in component rigidity and we have found many good things, but to be honest we’ve never found the holy grail.”

“Chassis science is very nebulous. I’ve been fighting with the turning of the bike since 1991and I’ve never found the best way to make the bike turn. I don’t know if anyone on this planet knows more about this!”

He repeats his focus on braking zone...“You can also make a bike turn by making it stop well. If the bike doesn’t stop properly it will never turn. Sometimes last year Aleix told us the bike wasn’t turning at all, so we made it stop better and then it turned better.

“But the pure turning in longer corners is a balance of the capacity of the tyres to generate centrifugal force, which is mostly related to the way you load the tyres and, of course, to the way you absorb small bumps. From this point the discussion about lateral frame stiffness begins, but honestly it’s not super-clear.”

Lastly, are they using a mass dampener salad box?

“We have been working on this matter but so far we haven’t been racing with a mass damper. We believe in the principle and we keep working on it.

“We have made a kind of a restart on this matter, from a more solid base, because we have new testing facilities available at Piaggio where we can test mass dampers in a better way, so we can better understand the functioning of the system and hopefully bring it to races this year. I think only Ducati uses this kind of system. I know Honda are working on it but, honestly, I’ve never seen it fully applied.”

What do you think? Interesting? How encouraging is it?

Yes Shrink Aprilia soo much potential. So much history in the two-stroke era. VR46's first two championships. SBK con Biaggi.

Interesting definitely and encouraging. Aprilia seem to be doing the right things. Aleix is good. Maverick and Aleix are the best rider line-up Aprilia have had lately.

Factory team again. Also a good move since Fausto died. I'm sure Nadia will do a great job at Gresini racing. But a factory should have a factory team! Any engineer will tell you 90 degree vees are better. Suzuki tried and failed. Why Aprilia wasted all those years with the narrow angle V4 I'll never know. The lack of space between the banks compromises the inlet tract plumbing and airflow.

But Maverick Viñales is, you know, Kooky as a two bob watch. So he is a bit of a concern. The bike is fairly close. If they can make the tires work & last most or all of the race. If, maybe.

I'm dreaming but not having any expectation of 22 being better than 21 for Aprilia. A podium or three. Maverick Viñales will be fast at a test. Maybe even fastest on one day at a test. Will Aprilia beat any other factory in the manu's chip? Very unlikely in my opinion.

Regarding tires Ducati have been working well with MegaRide. MegaRide have the tech to help get the best out of the tires. Part of getting to grips when new rubber arrives. Part of the reason Ducati still had tyre left toward the end of races in 2021.

Are we there yet.

Marc just spent today churning out laps at Aragon on a 600. Says he is focused on upping his fitness for the remainder of break.