Marc Marquez has been forced to undergo a second operation on the arm he broke at Jerez during the first race of the restarted 2020 MotoGP season. During a medical examination, the titanium plate holding the Repsol Honda rider's right humerus together was found to have bent due to stress placed on it. A second operation was needed to remove the bent plate and replace it with a new one.
Marquez will now spend the 48 hours after the operation in hospital, after which he will be evaluated as to whether he will be able to take part in this weekend's Czech round of MotoGP at Brno. Given what just happened at Jerez, and the fact that he has now missed two races, the chances of him actually racing in Brno are zero.
Given this setback, it appears as if Marquez' title defense has fallen at the first hurdle. Entering Brno 50 points down to Fabio Quartararo, with a bunch of tracks coming up where he is strong and the Yamahas could suffer, there was at least a mathematical chance of him still competing for the title. If he misses Brno, and then, as seems extremely likely, he skips the first race in Austria, and possibly the second, then he will be too far behind to have a shot at the championship.
Though the official statement by Dr Mir of the Dexeus Institut insists that Marc Marquez followed medical advice and the feeling in his body during recovery, it was clear that the reigning champion was pushing the limits of his body's ability to heal. The fact that he said he felt something change in his arm during FP4 at the second race in Jerez, when he tried to ride, was a sign of how hard he was pushing himself. But the fact that the bend to the plate was not discovered when he was examined after that race weekend suggests it was still straight at that point.
Since then, Marquez has been hard at work preparing for the triple header at Brno and the Red Bull Ring. Most likely, he was pushing himself too hard in training, and the accumulated stress of that training is what caused the plate to bend.
How long HRC can rein Marquez in remains to be seen. They tried and failed in the brief period between the first race in Jerez and the second, Marquez insisting he be allowed to try to ride. Though he made the right decision to stop when it became apparent he could not ride, it is questionable whether trying to ride was the right decision. HRC was not in a position to deny him, then, however. Perhaps this setback will have strengthened their hand.
The press release from Honda appears below:
Marc Marquez undergoes second surgery
Marc Marquez underwent a second operation today, Monday August 3, after the titanium plate used to fix his right humerus was found to have suffered damage due to stress accumulation. Dr Xavier Mir and his team at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus successfully replaced the titanium plate and Marc Marquez will now stay in hospital for 48 hours before being discharged.
Dr. Xavier Mir
Hospital Universitari Dexeus
“Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation. The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an over stress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”