Marc Marquez Rides Again - Private Track Day At Barcelona

Marc Marquez took a major step closer to a return on Tuesday. The Spaniard rode a full-sized production bike - a Honda RC213V-S street bike - at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo. It was the first time he had ridden a big bike since pulling out of the Andalusian round at Jerez during his precipitate return after his first crash.

Marquez rode a track-prepared version of Honda's RC213V-S, the exclusive and limited edition race replica based on the RCV1000R CRT machine raced by the likes of Nicky Hayden and Jack Miller. One of the perks of being a multiple world champion for Honda is that they give you motorcycles to train on, and Marquez trains on the RC213V-S when he rides on a track. The bike was in full Repsol Honda colors - another perk of being a multiple world champion is your win bonuses will easily stretch to a special paint job.

In a tweet, shown above, Marquez said he had not enjoyed himself so much for a very long time. The Spaniard appears to have put in a lot of laps at Barcelona, accompanied and assisted by his crew chief Santi Hernandez and other members of his crew. The website has a longer version of the Twitter video clip on its website.

That would suggest a return for the six-time MotoGP champion is nearer than ever. Marquez has already flown to Qatar to receive the Covid-19 vaccine offered to the MotoGP paddock by the Qatari government, and is due to fly back to receive the second jab. The chances of Marquez at least trying to ride at one of the Qatar rounds appear to be very high, given how comfortable he appeared on the road bike. Whether a week is sufficient time to prepare for the rigors of riding a MotoGP bike remains to be seen, but the smart money is on the Repsol Honda rider participating in the second Qatar round at least.

How strong Marquez will be on his return is the big question. There is little reason to doubt his desire to race, the question is whether he is able to erase the doubts and fears from his mind. Knowing the character of Marc Marquez, that is unlikely to take very long.

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Here he comes...we have something like a repeat of the Doohan's leg return. Seems a historical moment. I have a strange sense, we all foreshadowed the big crash injury. The early exhuberant return buggering up screws and plates, and the Honda that threw everyone down the road at turn in to throttle opening was...weird narrative. So now? 

Is Marc Marquez merely human? How fast is a 80% Marc? What will it be like for him to be riding with care of consequences? 

I don't think it will be possible for him to do race distance safely yet. Perhaps Round 3. But he is coming. We used to have wild conjecture of just such an outlandish situation in years past. 

Wishing The Marc well! You are a thing of beauty. And, a bunch of riders around you are thriving. The smell of blood in the water will have several sharks on the attack. 

Epic! Literally. Greek myth stuff.

I'm thinking this injury will cost him half a second...still puts him comfortabley 3/4 of a second ahead of everyone else...

If he feels ok with the arm...and he's sitting on a a competition...

I think it's possibly the most anticipated come back in history but it's not a Hailwood...yet.

The angel doesn't always win devil

He's no angel. Bloody fast, dedicated, and amazingly competent, but angel? I think not.

Possible, eh? He is likely to pass the pushups etc fit to take the track medical test.

But he and his garage would have to decide he can safely go race distance. Big ask. And Marc has expressed a bit more caution (meaning he has gone from ballistic pinball on fire to just over eager and radiating confidence). I can't wait to see. "How fast can he be, unfit and off the bike so long?" FAST! "Will he have lost his fearless approach? Has he become hesitant?" NO. Worse yet, he won't be crashing as much. 

Back 3rd Round at latest? 2nd at earliest. If he races the 1st Round and finishes at all, amazing. Gets on the pace matching the front group until muscle fatigue, amazing. Finishes mid pack or better? Time to believe in Aliens again. 

Gears, meet wrench. Can this season get more interesting?!

If he can ride the big bike and the arm feels up to it and the doctors say yes, then try keeping him away.

My opinion, there will be no huge revolution in thinking. The lessons of 2015 are reinforced this time through injury but were already learnt. Maybe after 2019 a little forgotten. However, MM on a bike, in a race, settle for second best ? Only if it's impossible and only if that second best makes some sense in the battle to be number one at years end. I'm not sure if he's quite finished with proving his point yet. He wont show any weakness to his opponents, he never has and that includes keeping physical limitations secret.

Consummate professional who risks only as much as is needed ? Goes only as fast as is needed ? Only overtakes when it makes sense in the grand strategic vision ? MM ? Marc Marquez ?

Whichever MM turns up to race, I'm really looking forward to it.

Perhaps Marc wants to race at a track he knows prior to returning to Jerez; similar to Stoner returning a round or two before Philip Island in 2012 to be sure that he could fight for the win at home.