Marc Marquez is to miss the Algarve Grand Prix, to be held at the Portimão circuit this weekend. According to a press release from the Repsol Honda team, the Spaniard suffered a crash during training which has left him with a mild concussion. As he was still feeling unwell a couple of days after the event, Marquez and the team have decided to skip the penultimate round of MotoGP.
Marquez' absence at Portimão raises questions of whether he will be fit for Valencia, and indeed, whether it will be worth Marquez taking a risk on being fully fit for the final grand prix of the 2021 season. The season will end with a two-day test at the Jerez circuit on the Thursday and Friday after Valencia, and as we saw at the Misano test, Honda have brought a radically revised RC213V for the 2022 season. Given that the best Marquez could hope for in 2021 is to finish fourth, there is more to be gained from testing than from coming back too early and trying to race.
The decision is also a sign that Marquez is taking injury more seriously, since breaking his arm. The lesson learned from the long and miserable process of recovering from the right humerus he broke at Jerez last year is that it is better to be more patient before trying to come back. Marquez' decision to try to race a few days after surgery to fix his right arm ended up costing him the entire 2020 season, and any chance of the 2021 championship.
It is also a positive sign that concussion is being taken much more seriously. Coming back too early from a concussion can have very serious consequences, and a knock on effect for weeks and months after the fact. It is better to play it safe and focus on recovering as fully as possible, rather than risk exacerbating an existing concussion and paying for it down the road.
As of this moment, there is no word on a replacement rider, but HRC test rider Stefan Bradl could be called in to take Marquez' place, either at Portimão, or Valencia, or both, if that is needed.
The press release from the Repsol Honda team appears below:
Marquez to miss Algarve Grand Prix
This past Saturday Marc Marquez, while preparing for the Algarve Grand Prix with one of his standard off-road training sessions, suffered a fall that caused a slight head concussion. After a few days of rest at home and seeing that he was still unwell, today Marquez has been assessed by doctors in a medical check-up to evaluate his current status. As a precautionary measure, this coming weekend Marquez will not contest the Algarve Grand Prix.