Marc Marquez Given Green Light To Return At Portimao MotoGP Round

Marc Marquez has finally been given the green light to return to racing. On Friday, the Repsol Honda rider visited the doctors in Madrid who have been treating him since his decision to have a third operation on the right humerus he broke at the opening round in 2020 in Jerez, and the doctors assessed that the bone growth in his humerus was finally strong enough to assume the normal risks associated with racing, and crashing. That means that Marquez will make his MotoGP return next Friday, the 16th of April, when he takes to the track at Portimao for free practice.

It has been a long and difficult road for Marquez. He broke his humerus as he cut his way through the field trying to recover the ground lost after running wide and off track in the opening race of the 2020 season, at Jerez in July. He had surgery later that week, and was doing push ups again on the day after his surgery. He attempted to ride in the Andalusian round at Jerez, the Saturday after breaking his humerus. But he pulled out after FP4.

That attempt to ride proved to be a very bad decision. The stresses involved in preparing and trying to ride stressed the plate inserted into his humerus, and it eventually broke as he tried to open heavy glass patio doors. A second operation to replace the plate resulted in an infection of the bone, preventing the bone from growing and recovering strength, and eventually, a third operation was needed, to clean the infected site, replace the plate a second time, and insert bone growth agent.

Since that operation, in mid-December 2020, Marquez has made slow but steady recovery toward full fitness. He rode a minibike at a track for the first time on March 12th, and took part in a track day on a Honda RC213V-S production bike at Barcelona a couple of days later. Another track day at Portimao followed, but at that point, his doctors judged the bone consolidation of the humerus was not sufficiently advanced to allow the Spaniard to race safely again. Marquez was forced to miss the two opening rounds at Qatar, though at the insistence of his entourage, the press release issued stated only that he would miss the first race, even though Marquez himself posted on social media that he would miss both races.

Another inspection was planned, this time for the week before Portimao. The date for his medical assessment was announced as April 12th, but like many of the announcements in the run up to his return, that date was incorrect, to throw journalists off the trail and allow Marquez to take a more measured approach. He actually underwent the exam on Friday, April 9th, and the announcement he had been passed fit was made this morning, April 10th.

The big question is how Marquez will approach his return, and whether any lingering fears from this traumatic process will affect the riding of the six-time MotoGP champion. There are hints of this in his past. In an interview with MotoMatters at Assen 2018, Marc Marquez talked about fear when riding after the huge crash he suffered at the end of the straight at Mugello in 2013. He didn't believe he was afraid, he explained, but the data showed otherwise. "I think that was because I was afraid, because normally in that point it's full gas, and after that crash I was closing the gas. And my data recording guy says, 'Look at Dani and Cal, they are full gas, just try to be full gas,' but I said to him 'No, I'm full gas'. But I thought that I was full gas, but always I was closing the throttle. I said, 'No, I'm full, check the data', they said 'no, look' and then I went out again and I thought it was full gas, but no, I was closing. But it was the only time. The rest of the time I am not afraid."

His record bears him out. After that incident, Marquez went on to win the title at his first attempt, becoming the youngest ever MotoGP champion in history. And his success continued, winning in 2014, and from 2016 through 2019. In 2019, Marquez achieved the unparalleled feat in the modern era of finishing no lower than second in every race bar Austin, where he crashed out. Marc Marquez may take a little while to get up to speed. But there is little doubt that he will.

The press release from the Repsol Honda team and Marc Marquez' tweet announcing his return appear below:

Marquez cleared to return

In the review carried out on Marc Marquez by the Hospital Ruber Internacional medical team, four months after surgery, led by Doctors Samuel Antuña and Ignacio Roger de Oña, and made up of Doctors De Miguel, Ibarzabal and García Villanueva, for an infected pseudoarthrosis of the right humerus, a very satisfactory clinical condition was found, with evident progress in the bone consolidation process. In the current situation, Marquez can return to competition, assuming the reasonable risk implicit in his sporting activity.


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...but this clip from the interview has really thrown me, total body/brain overpowering your intent on behalf of your own self preservation. I wonder if he still closes over the crest?

Racing is suspension of normal mammalian fear response. At least that is what I told myself after my first weekend racing.

Having Raced 600SS myself I agree, If you're not planning every turn in, every breaking marker, every crack of the throttle on exit, you're in jepordy of having lizard brain take over and it doesn't want to win, but rather survive.

That said, I will forever have the memory of nailing Paddock Bend perfectly in 5 out of six laps. Get paddock right and the whole of Brand's Hatch just falls into place.

Games begin. Am loving Marc coming back. I bet everyones focus will go up a notch from now on!!!!

I dont think 40pts is a big enough deficit...

Portimao seems like it would suit him (of course it does, it's a race track and he wears those like saville row's finest) but he's behind the curve on an incredibly technical circuit...

I think he'll win at Jerez, just to show it who's boss, and from then on business as usual.

Marc at Portimao? Yes, please. Setting the over/under on races until he takes over 1st in the standings at 4.5 (if he really is fully healthy). At the news, Mav's heart rate monitor showed 220! Fabio is smiling, he thinks he can stay with Marc and he may be right. Joan is happy he got his last year; Alex thinks he's ready but he is too often too optimistic. JZ is fine, his Gallic philosopher act is no act, but can he even stay ahead of his teammate? JM89 is not in the hunt to lead races nor win races nor think about the championship. Except, he has led a race already...what other things that he is not even considering may happen? For sure he won't be intimidated by MM but can he keep up? Can Jack come good? Pecco, who are you? KTM, are you ready to take The Next Step? Pol? Anyone?  So many questions and more. The stakes just went up and I love it.

It's the personal stories that make life rich. The wife is interested in Marquez' comeback and she doesn't have a single care in the world about Motogp.

The obvious question is, "How will the new Marquez do in his first race back from an extended recovery due to a serious injury?"

But, the underlying question is, "How long until we see the old Marquez back in the saddle?" The guy willing to crash during practice in order to find the limit.

My guess is he will resume his natural style before the season is over. Especially if he has confidence in the strength of his arm, and more importantly, if the title is on the line. That's the stuff true champions are made of.

Portimão isn't the true test. Jerez is. There he will confront his unconscious fear.

Glad to see Marc coming back. BACK! Wounded and on the mend, but back. My excitement level hasn't been this high since..... It'll be 'interesting' to see how he responds, AND how the field responds back. 

Watch our comments here for a swell of discussion around fitness. No matter which way it goes for The Marc in a week. The relevance of the fitness factor will be a big deal. Spoiler alert, it (yet again) will roll off into "yeah, but this is fitness and Marc Marquez, so..."

He won't be able to get the bike to turn like he wants into big lefts where you need to honk on the outside bar. So, he will adapt. And quickly. Likely safely. So it will slow him down, on a few corners, a little bit. Portimao is quite a physically demanding circuit. 

But wait for it...he will then say something like "so I am experimenting with smoother braking zone to turn in" and The Marc will just still be fast, but with a smoother style. The bike will be set up that direction. And be a better bike. And he will just recover with another weapon in his arsenal AND fewer crashes. 

Ok, so - fit enough to race in a week? 


Now we will simulataneously see just how alien AND how human he is all at once. 

Fitness, new bike, not ridden for a year, no testing, new track, arm aches, feeling, subconscious fear, anxiety, pressure, competitiveness, stronger competitors. All these things will be reasons that he WILL NOT get a podium this weekend. I will be super impressed if he gets a top 10. These machines are incredible beats, these riders are incredibly sensitive, and you don't just jump on a bike and do laps like JM89 without EVERYTHING clicking. 

But because MM93 is MM93, we will see flashes of brilliance. He is THE alien. I hope he just eases his way into it and doesn't try to go too fast too soon and hurt himself again. 

It will take him at least 5 races before he can deliver a full weekend. He is awesome. He is an alien. He is human. 

Lots of chat about whether it will be the same MM93 as it was before.

Whatever goes down in the next few years I feel privileged to have watched another genius at work.

Don't bet your house on either outcome.

I can't wait.


Could not agree more, mr.p.

If the bet is does he come back quickly being fast, and that he is still as good as he was before this season in not just a reasonable amount of time, but sooner? 2021 Title Contender even starting unfit and behind 2 races? 2022 crash rate will be way lower than 2018. Changed for the better. And the upper arm will be utterly fine late this year.

I will bet the house. 

I have the feeling that once back with his merry band of travellers in the garage he will feel very much at home. They will do the best they can do and I'm sure it will be surprisingly good. Stress, worry hmm. Have you ever found yourself being good and responsible on the road but find that being good and responsible results in more stress and more risk (apparently) due to all those other people on the road who seem to enjoy grouping together and annoying each other ? I'm probably completely wrong but my gut tells me that if the strength is there and if it is required, MM will be busting shapes on his dance floor because it feels less risky than relying on others. 
Also mention. Although the media attention has been huge and the recovery long, it's not his first tango. In many ways the injury suffered in 2011 was more concerning.