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Dorna Issue Statement On Suzuki Withdrawal - Remind Suzuki Of Contractual Obligations

Dorna have officially responded to the reports that Suzuki will be withdrawing from MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season. Dorna have pointed out that Suzuki signed a five-year contract to race in MotoGP from 2022 through 2026, and that they do not have the right to unilaterally terminate the contract.

The statement is a warning to Suzuki that there will be legal consequences for withdrawal. Dorna changed their contractual arrangements with the factories after Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP at the end of 2008. Previously, Dorna had a contract with the MSMA, representing all of the factories participating, which gave them no leverage over individual parties. From 2016, Dorna signed contracts with each factory separately, giving them a much more powerful enforcement mechanism. If Suzuki go through with their plan to withdraw, they will face serious legal consequences.

The Dorna statement also points out that there is no shortage of interest in MotoGP. Teams are interested in taking the two grid slots which will be freed up by Suzuki's withdrawal, meaning they believe they will be able to maintain the grid at 24 bikes for the foreseeable future. MotoGP grid slots are more valuable to teams than Moto2 or Moto3, as they are far more heavily subsidized by Dorna.

So far, no statement has been forthcoming from Suzuki. It is currently 'Ōgon Shūkan', or Golden Week in Japan, a week of national holidays in which a lot of offices are closed. That may help explain why the team has yet to issue a press release, as it may not be possible to get such a statement officially signed off by Suzuki HQ in Hamamatsu. That, too, makes the timing of the Suzuki statement even more curious.

The official Dorna statement appears below:


Statement from Dorna Sports regarding Suzuki

Tuesday, 03 May 2022

Following recent rumours of Suzuki departing MotoGP™ at the end of 2022, Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP™ do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally.

However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP™ class from 2023.

Dorna continues to receive high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and Independent Teams looking to join the MotoGP™ grid as the sport continues to set a global example of close competition, innovation and entertainment, reaching hundreds of millions of fans around the world.

Interest from these parties has been re-confirmed in the past 24 hours.

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Suzuki To Withdraw From MotoGP At End Of 2022 Season

As the paddock packed up after the Jerez test on Monday, held after the Spanish GP at the circuit, the bombshell news emerged that Suzuki is to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the current season. Motorsport.com's Oriol Puigdemont was the first to break the news, which I have since had confirmed by multiple sources in the MotoGP paddock. The team were told on Monday morning, before the test, with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.

The decision was a financial one. GPOne.com published a story citing sources that say that Suzuki's decision was based on financial grounds, with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine depressing the global economy. Paddock rumor suggests that one of the things Livio Suppo had been brought into Suzuki to do was to make budget cuts where possible, but nobody, not even Suppo, could have expected this decision, which came down from Suzuki's board of directors.

The timing of the withdrawal is bizarre, at least when viewed from a sporting perspective. The factory won a world title in 2020 with Joan Mir, and have two riders widely regarded as among the most talented on the grid. Alex Rins is currently fourth in the championship, 20 points behind the leader Fabio Quartararo, while Joan Mir is sixth, trailing Quartararo by 33 points. The Suzuki GSX-RR is one of the best bikes on the grid, especially since Suzuki's engineers found more horsepower and more torque for the 2022 season. Mir and Rins can be expected to be in the title hunt for 2022, only to be dropped at the end of the season.

The economic costs could be high as well. Suzuki signed a five-year contract with Dorna in April last year, promising to compete in MotoGP from 2022 to 2026. Dorna has bolstered their contracts after Kawasaki withdrew at the end of 2008, during the global financial crisis which followed in the wake of the Lehmann Brothers collapse. The board of directors of Dorna will be meeting to discuss how to address the withdrawal, and a statement will surely follow the announcement by Suzuki.

Suzuki's withdrawal is unlikely to see the grid reduced from 24 to 22 bikes. Instead, the two slots are likely to be taken by an Aprilia satellite team. Aprilia have been trying to convince several satellite teams to switch to Aprilia, as the Noale factory believes the time is right to expand their efforts and to create a space where they can park young talent to be nurtured.

The withdrawal of Suzuki also opens the question of where Alex Rins and Joan Mir will end up. Suzuki's exit blows the rider market open wide, at least behind Fabio Quartararo. Mir is now almost certain to end up at Repsol Honda, the 2020 world champion taking the place of Pol Espargaro alongside Marc Marquez. Alex Rins will be a highly prized rider, especially for a factory like Yamaha who have a very similar bike.

The press release is expected tomorrow. But this is a story which is likely to develop very fast. There are plenty more twists in the road.

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MotoGP Official Testing To Be Restricted To 8 Days A Season From 2023

The MotoGP testing regime is to be revised again for the 2023 season. At Portimão, the Grand Prix Commission agreed to reduce the total amount of test days to 8 in total, a reduction of 3 days compared to the 2022 season.

The 2023 preseason kicks off with a 1-day test at Valencia, after the race. After the winter break, MotoGP takes to the track again at Sepang. There is a three-day shakedown test for test riders and rookies, and then three more days for the full MotoGP field at Sepang.

To end the preseason, there will be another two-day test at the Lusail International Circuit, ahead of the first grand prix of the season at Qatar.

The in-season testing has been cut too. There will be only two post-race tests, at Jerez and Barcelona. In 2022, there are four days of in-season testing, with one-day tests on the Monday after Jerez and Barcelona, and a two-day test after Misano.

The reason for the reduction in testing is simple. The bargain made between the teams and Dorna is that as the calendar expands with more racing, testing would be reduced. The independent teams are some of the main beneficiaries of this, as they get paid to go racing, but they have to pay for their expenses around the test.

The return of the Valencia test is perhaps the biggest surprise. Previously, teams had pushed to drop the Valencia post-race test, as the track does not provide useful data due to its unusual layout. However, with a reduction of the post-race test from 2 days to 1, it makes little sense to pack up the paddock, drive down to Jerez, and set it all up again for a single day.

The fact that tests are to be held at Qatar and Valencia mean that these two races will once again bookend the season, with Qatar kicking off the 2023 season, and wrapping up at Valencia

That is the program for 2023, at least. The wording of the FIM press release issued after the GPC met is deliberately broad as to the locations of the tests. It states merely that there will be a 3-day test and a 2-day test before the start of the season, two 1-day test after races, and a 1-day test after the final race of the season.

That leaves open future changes to the calendar. Qatar is expected to be the first race of the season for some time, but Dorna's plan to rotate the Spanish circuits and Portimão, with 3 rounds a year at the Iberian peninsula, means that the season could finish at tracks other than Valencia in some years.


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Marc Marquez Cleared To Race In Austin As Diplopia Improves

Marc Marquez' second bout of diplopia, or double vision, inside the space of six months has been resolved favorably. The Repsol Honda team today announced he would make his return in Austin, after being given the go ahead by his doctors.

The news was not a complete surprise. Marquez had posted earlier on Tuesday that he had been at Alcarras, riding a Honda CBR600RR, as a test of his eyesight. That test, and the examination by Dr Sanchez Dalmau, the ophthalmologist treating Marquez, showed that Marquez had improved enough to be able to take part in the Grand Prix of The Americas in Austin.

Marquez' current bout of diplopia had occurred after a monster highside during warm up for the Indonesian Grand Prix at Mandalika. Though he came away without breaking any bones, he was ruled out of the race with concussion, and on the flight home to Barcelona, he developed a mild case of double vision. His ophthalmologist prescribed a conservative approach, as he had after the problem occurred in October 2021, after Marquez had crashed during enduro training.

Marquez will be particularly keen to make his return at the Circuit of The Americas, because of his stellar record there. He has won there eight times, only missing out once in 2019, when an issue with engine braking caused him to crash. Despite his injury, his record in Texas suggests he will start the race as one of the favourites.

The press release from Honda appears below:


Marquez set for Austin return as Espargaro plots revenge

Marc Marquez will return to the MotoGP World Championship in Austin aboard his Repsol Honda Team RC213V after consultation and clearance from his medical team.

Doctors have cleared Marc Marquez for a return to Grand Prix competition after his fall in Warm Up at the Indonesian GP and subsequent diplopia diagnosis. The Repsol Honda Team rider has completed his conservative treatment plan and is ready to return to action at Round 4, the Grand Prix of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Before heading for the US, he confirmed his feelings and vision on a CBR600RR around the Alcarras circuit.

Marquez’s record around the Texan circuit speaks for itself, having only missed victory on one occasion when he crashed while comfortably leading in 2019. Even with his historic speed at the track, Marquez is not chasing immediate glory and is aiming to spend the weekend getting back up to speed with the Repsol Honda Team RC213V and continuing to build his feeling and speed on the new machine.

Pol Espargaro arrives in the United States of America with a point to prove after crashing out while chasing a podium in Argentina. Despite a mixed Saturday, Espargaro and his crew put everything in place to produce a strong race that showed more of the potential of the rider and the bike before the fall. In 2021, Espargaro finished tenth in Texas on the RC213V – his fourth top ten at the American circuit.

Aleix Espargaro sits atop the MotoGP World Championship with just 45 points after three races, Pol Espargaro is only 25 points back and despite missing two races, Marquez is 34 points from the top spot. With 18 races still left to run, and a potential of 450 points, it is still very much anyone’s championship.

Action at the 5.5-kilometer-long circuit commences at 09:55 Local Time on Friday, April 08. A unique schedule for the weekend will see the MotoGP race, running over 20 laps, start at 13:00 Local Time just before the Moto3 race which will conclude the day.

Marc Marquez

“Of course I am very happy to be back, it’s a great feeling to return and especially to do it at one of my favourite tracks. No matter the situation, I really enjoy riding in Texas and have incredible memories there. We have some work to do after missing two races and the whole Argentina weekend so I am not here to set one target at the moment. There’s many things to do and consider, but the important thing is that we are back on the bike this weekend.”

Pol Espargaro

“After the disappointment of last race I am looking forward to riding again this week. Austin was not the easiest circuit for us last year but with the new bike it’s interesting to come and compare what we did last year to this year. Already it looks like there will be many people in the mix for the championship this year so we need to get back to scoring points and putting together weekends like the start of the year. It’s time to get some more points on the board and start building something.”

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New Schedule For Argentina MotoGP Round As Missing Freight Nears South America

The plane carrying the missing cargo from MotoGP is about to land in South America, which has given Dorna the confidence to announce a new schedule for the Argentina GP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. More track time has been added, and the sessions reshuffled.

The Moto2 and Moto3 classes fill Saturday morning, with Moto3 kicking off at 8:15am for a 50 minute FP1 session. That is followed by 50 minutes of FP1 for Moto2, then both classes get 50 minutes for FP2.

At 12:35, MotoGP gets their FP1 session, a full hour. Qualifying for Moto3 and Moto2 follows, then another hour of FP2 for MotoGP. The day ends with Q1 and Q2 for MotoGP. Entry into Q2 will be decided by combined times in FP1 and FP2 for all three classes.

The action kicks off 10 minutes earlier on Sunday morning, with 20 minute warm up sessions for Moto3 and Moto2, followed by a 40 minute session for MotoGP. The race should then proceed as normal.

The new schedule appears below:

Time Class Session
Saturday    
08:15-09:05 Moto3 FP1
09:20-10:10 Moto2 FP1
     
10:25-11:15 Moto3 FP2
11:30-12:20 Moto2 FP2
     
12:35-13:35 MotoGP FP1
     
13:50-14:05 Moto3 Q1
14:15-14:30 Moto3 Q2
     
14:45-15:00 Moto2 Q1
15:10-15:25 Moto2 Q2
     
15:40-16:40 MotoGP FP2
     
17:05-17:20 MotoGP Q1
17:30-17:45 MotoGP Q2
     
Sunday    
09:20-09:40 Moto3 WUP
09:50-10:10 Moto2 WUP
10:20-11:00 MotoGP WUP
     
12:00 Moto3 Race (21 laps)
13:20 Moto2 Race (23 laps)
15:00 MotoGP Race (25 laps)
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Friday Practice Scrapped In Argentina As Freight Delays Disrupt Schedule

A broken down cargo freighter has thrown the schedule for the Argentina Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo into chaos. One of the aircraft carrying some of the freight from Indonesia to Argentina suffered problems, causing the freight to get stuck in Mombasa, Kenya, and delaying its arrival at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. With bikes from a number of teams missing - including the Gresini Ducati of MotoGP championship leader Enea Bastianini - it was decided to cancel practice for all three classes on Friday, and to begin the weekend on Saturday instead.

The problems are twofold. On the one hand, the bikes of several teams - including the Gresini and VR46 MotoGP squads, and the Marc VDS team in Moto2 - will only be delivered to the paddock very late on Thursday evening. The bikes were not cleaned after the race in Indonesia, and the MotoGP bikes, who rode in the rain, are in need of a very thorough clean. Mechanics from one team took 3 hours just to clean the bikes which had arrived from Mandalika.

The other issue is that it is not just bikes which are missing. Crates belonging to equipment suppliers have also been affected, meaning that spare helmets, gloves, leathers, boots etc are also missing. Typically, at least one set of leathers will travel with race bikes, but the spares are needed in case of the inevitable crashes. Missing bikes and spare equipment has made it impossible to get everything ready for Friday morning, without creating unsafe working conditions for paddock staff. Mechanics having to work on just a few hours sleep is a risk for everyone involved.

With Friday canceled, a new schedule has been drawn up for Saturday. It is a very hectic day of action, with two practice sessions for each class on Saturday morning/early afternoon. Moto3 and Moto2 get two 40-minute sessions, and MotoGP gets two 45-minute sessions. Qualifying then happens as usual on Saturday afternoon, the only difference being that FP4 for MotoGP is now FP3. Warm up has also been extended for all three classes, Moto2 and Moto3 getting 20 minutes, MotoGP half an hour.

The new schedule appears below, with the press release from Dorna with more details below that.

Time Class Session
Saturday    
08:45-09:25 Moto3 FP1
09:40-10:20 Moto2 FP1
10:35-11:20 MotoGP FP1
     
11:35-12:15 Moto3 FP2
12:30-13:10 Moto2 FP2
13:25-14:10 MotoGP FP2
     
14:35-14:50 Moto3 Q1
15:00-15:15 Moto3 Q2
15:30-15:45 Moto2 Q1
15:55-16:10 Moto2 Q2
     
16:25-16:55 MotoGP FP3
17:05-17:20 MotoGP Q1
17:30-17:45 MotoGP Q2
     
Sunday    
09:30-09:50 Moto3 WUP
10:00-10:20 Moto2 WUP
10:30-11:00 MotoGP WUP
     
12:00 Moto3 Race (21 laps)
13:20 Moto2 Race (23 laps)
15:00 MotoGP Race (25 laps)

Logistical issues oblige Argentina GP time schedule change
Thursday, 31 March 2022

Logistical issues affecting freight for the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship have obliged a schedule change for the upcoming Gran Prix of Argentina. Five cargo flights were scheduled to ship paddock material from Lombok, Indonesia, to Tucuman, close to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, in the week following the Indonesian GP.

Due to two separate issues affecting two different flights, the final freight for the Argentina GP will now arrive in the country on Friday. The flight contains freight for all classes of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, with changes to the time schedule therefore obliged for all classes.

Free Practice sessions will now begin and take place for all classes on Saturday morning. Of the sessions that normally take place on Friday, only one has been cancelled, with the other moved to Saturday. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon, with a slightly later start time.

Warm Up sessions on Sunday morning have been extended, with each race set to begin at the same start time as originally scheduled.

The trip from Lombok to Termas consisted of five flights. Three of the planned cargo routes took freight from Lombok to Tucuman via technical stops in Mombasa, Lagos and Brazil. The two other routes saw freight planned to travel from Lombok to Doha, Doha to Accra in Ghana and then on to Tucuman.

The chain of events started last Wednesday when one of the five airplanes suffered a problem during a technical stop in Mombasa, Kenya. The first plane which had already arrived in Tucuman was then returned to Lombok to collect more freight, and unfortunately has also suffered a technical problem during a layover this past Wednesday night.

As of Thursday morning local time in Argentina, one cargo load remains grounded in Mombasa, Kenya. The plane is awaiting a part in order to return to the air, with two parts – one dispatched from Europe and another back up part, dispatched from the Middle East – already en route.

The plane is expected to take off this evening and will follow the route from Mombasa via Lagos and Brazil, arriving in Tucuman on Friday.

Dorna and IRTA would like to thank the teams and paddock personnel for their effort and understanding, as well as the promoter of the Grand Prix of Argentina for their invaluable support and assistance.

We also would like to thank fans for their patience, both those in Argentina and those watching around the world, and we look forward to enjoying some fantastic track action and racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Please find attached the new time schedule for the Gran Premio Michelin® de la Republica Argentina.

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Red Bull Ring Completes Work On Chicane After Turn 1 Aimed At Improving Safety

The Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, today announced that they have completed construction of a chicane between Turns 1 and 3, aimed at improving safety for motorcycle racing around the Austrian track. The change was deemed necessary after the horrific crash at the Austrian GP in 2020, when a collision between Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli through Turn 2 saw their bikes carry on through the gravel and cross the track after Turn 3, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales as they exited Turn 3.

The solution devised by track designer Hermann Tilke, is to add a chicane, consisting of a sharp right and a sharp left about a third of the way along the straight between Turn 1 and Turn 3, just before the start of the fast kink which is Turn 2. The idea is to slow the bikes significantly on the approach to Turn 3, to prevent them from crossing the track in the event of a crash.

The work was extremely constrained by the terrain of the Spielberg track. The circuit is built on a hillside, and the section between Turns 1 and 3 climbs up a steepish hill flanked by a dirt bank leading on to a low hill on one side, and a steep slope on the other. Making room for the chicane meant digging out a section of the hillside to lay asphalt.

Although the chicane should slow bikes on the approach to Turn 3 by drastically reducing their exit speed out of the chicane, the new layout is not without its problems. Riders still exit Turn 1 over a blind crest where riders are prone to crash, and the braking zone for the chicane also includes the possibility of a rider losing the front on entry and their bike sliding across the track in the first section. The blind section out of Turn 1 is not the only problematic area. The exit of Turn 3 is also blind, as we saw when Dani Pedrosa crashed there in 2021.

The change will only be used for motorcycle racing. The F1 car series will continue to use the original layout.

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Repsol Honda Press Release: Marc Marquez Out Of Argentina

The Repsol Honda team has announced that Marc Marquez is to miss the Argentina round of MotoGP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. The Spaniard met with the specialist treating him for diplopia, or double vision, on Monday, who judged that it would be better for him to sit out the race weekend taking place in Argentina.

There was good news too, however. Confirming Marc Marquez' own report that the diplopia was nowhere near as bad as the bout he suffered after a training crash at the end of last year, Dr Sanchez Dalmau noted that Marquez' condition was progressing well, and his vision was improving rapidly. That holds out hope for Marquez that he could make a return for the Austin round of MotoGP, a track where he has previously dominated. That could also explain why the Repsol Honda press release only ruled Marquez out for Argentina, and made no mention of Austin, which happens the week after Argentina.

The Repsol Honda press release appears below:


Marc Marquez to miss Grand Prix of Argentina

The Repsol Honda Team rider has already shown very favourable improvements with his diplopia after visiting the Hospital Clínic and an examination from Dr. Sánchez Dalmau.

Marc Marquez visited his ophthalmologist, Dr. Sánchez Dalmau, at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona yesterday, Monday, where he underwent his second medical check-up after the crash in Warm Up for the Indonesian GP a week ago. In this new examination, Dr. Sánchez Dalmau confirmed that Marc Marquez’s diplopia shows a notable improvement and reaffirms that the progression of his vision is very favourable. As happened with the last episode of diplopia, Marc Marquez will continue to carry out a conservative treatment regime with regular check-ups.

The Repsol Honda Team rider will not take part in the next round of the MotoGP World Championship that takes place this weekend in Argentina as he continues his recovery.

Doctor Sánchez Dalmau
Ophthalmologist

“The second neuro-ophthalmological evaluation carried out on Marc Marquez this past Monday has shown a very favourable evolution in the paralysis of the fourth right nerve affected by the fall that occurred at the Indonesian Grand Prix. Recovery is not yet complete, and Marc Marquez must follow the established therapeutic regime with conservative treatment.”

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MotoGP Grand Prix Commission Bans Front Ride-Height Devices From 2023

There has been much debate over the past two months over the use of front ride-height devices, hydraulic-mechanical systems which lower the front of a MotoGP bike on corner exit. Ever since Ducati turned up with the device at the Sepang test, the other motorcycle manufacturers have complained about it as a waste of money, an expensive way of finding small performance gains.

That prompted an internal discussion inside the MSMA, the association of motorcycle manufacturers racing in MotoGP. Five factories were opposed to the use of front ride-height devices, while Ducati felt they were being punished for their innovation. If the devices were to be banned, then Ducati had wanted to postpone such a ban from going into force until 2024.

Ducat has lost out on both counts, however. Two proposals were put to the Grand Prix Commission, and the GPC decided to adopt the proposal banning front ride-height devices from next season.

The proposal will not ban front holeshot devices, meaning any device which can be used once, at the start of the race, to help get the bike off the line when the lights go out. Interpretation of the rules will be left to the MotoGP Technical Director, Danny Aldridge.

The ban raises the question of whether Ducati will continue to develop it's front holeshot device. At Mandalika, the Italian factory had already removed the device from most of the Ducati GP22s, after all of the GP22s got off to a bad start at the first race in Qatar. If the device is to be banned from 2023, and needs further development before it offers any gains, it might prove more productive to drop the device now, and focus on other areas. Ducati's track record of coming up with new and innovative ideas to circumvent existing regulations suggests they will find other areas soon enough.

Notably, the ban adopted by the FIM only affects ride-height devices on the front. Rear ride-height devices will continue to be legal.

The press release from the FIM appears below:


FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decisions of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Biense Bierma (MSMA), assisted by Jorge Viegas (FIM President), Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting) and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), in an electronic held on 18 March 2022, made the following decision:

Technical Regulations

EFFECTIVE SEASON 2023

MotoGP Class

RIDE HEIGHT DEVICES

During the meeting of the Commission held in Lusail on 4 March 2022 the Grand Prix Commission delegates were asked to consider two alternative proposals on this matter. Both had the objective of preventing further performance improvements and development cost increases. After consideration of the proposals the following regulation was approved unanimously.

The use of any device that modifies or adjusts the motorcycle’s front ride height while it is moving is forbidden.

The decision of the Technical Director will be final when determining what constitutes a front ride height device; devices that only operate one-shot at the race start (i.e. “holeshot” devices) are allowed.

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Marc Marquez Diagnosed With Double Vision After Massive Highside In Mandalika

Marc Marquez has suffered yet another injury setback on his long road to recovery. He has been diagnosed with another episode of diplopia, or double vision, after his huge highside in the morning warm up before the Indonesian Grand Prix at Mandalika.

Marquez was ruled unfit after the crash, and did not take part in the race at Mandalika. At the time, he had undergone scans to check for broken bones and brain trauma, but the scans turned up nothing serious. Fearing a concussion, however, Marquez was not allowed to ride, a decision he and his team supported.

During his trip back to Spain, however, he started to suffer vision problems again. On arrival in Barcelona, he met with the opthalmologist who has been treating him during his previous bouts with double vision, and he was diagnosed with diplopia again. The only ray of light in this situation is that this episode is less severe than the previous bout he suffered at the end of 2021.

There is no schedule for a return to action for Marquez. He is due to start the same conservative regime of treatment and therapy, and will undergo new checks next week, to determine how long his recovery might take. Though the press release gives no indication of when Marquez might race again, it seems unlikely he will participate at either Argentina or Austin, as those two races are back-to-back.

The injury is a massive blow to Marquez, another one in a long string of physical problems starting with surgery on his left shoulder to prevent it from dislocating at the end of 2018, then the same surgery on the left shoulder at the end of 2019, and a complicated recovery from that. At the first race of 2020 at Jerez, Marquez had a huge crash at Turn 4 in which he was hit by the bike and fractured his right arm. A mistaken attempt to return a week later saw the plate holding his arm together fatally weakened, setting off a long period of recovery as the humerus bone became infected and did not heal.

Marquez started to slowly recover his form through the 2021 season, and was just hitting his stride when he crashed on an enduro bike, further damaging the nerve in his right eye which he had originally damaged at Sepang in 2011, at the end of his first season in Moto2. Dr Sanchez Dalmau, the specialist treating Marquez, decided against surgery, and the Spaniard rehabbed using a course of physical therapy.

Marquez' crash at Mandalika was so severe that he banged his head, damaging the nerve which controls the muscles in his eye again. The crash happened during morning warm up, when the rear of his Honda came round on him at Turn 7 on a closed throttle, before gripping and then viciously spitting him off and up into the air. Marquez came down heavily, and was lucky not to be more severely injured.

The crash happened after all the Hondas and the Suzukis complained of a lack of rear grip from the harder construction rear tire Michelin had brought to the race, fearing the extreme tropical heat would cause problems for the tires used at the test. There were instances throughout the weekend of the rear letting go unexpectedly, as clouds and damp conditions kept track temperatures much lower than expected.

Marquez' injury will raise questions over when, and if, he will return. But speaking at the Sepang test, the Repsol Honda rider had already accepted the risk of a recurrence of the injury if he crashed. "This is one point that when I spoke to my doctor, it was my first question. If I crash in the Malaysia test, what is the possibility to create the same problem again? And the answer was clear: the possibility is the same that you will have in two years. The nerve problem is there. If you crash tomorrow or you crash in two years and you touch that nerve again, it will be damaged."

Marquez knew the risks, and took them anyway. How this injury affects his mental fortitude and ability and willingness to race remains to be seen. But this, yet another in a long line of incidence, will surely test his resolve.

The press release from the Repsol Honda team appears below:


Marc Marquez diagnosed with a new episode of diplopia upon his arrival in Spain

The Repsol Honda Team rider experiences another episode of diplopia as a result of the heavy fall suffered during Warm Up for the Indonesian Grand Prix.

Marc Marquez was declared unfit for the Indonesian Grand Prix held at the Mandalika circuit after suffering a high side at Turn 7 during Warm Up prior to the race.

The MotoGP medical team confirmed that Marquez suffered a concussion and several minor traumas before being transferred to the hospital in Mataram, the capital of the island of Lombok, where he underwent a more exhaustive medical examination and a CT scan in which major injuries were ruled out. As a precaution, the MotoGP medical team together with the Repsol Honda Team jointly decided that Marc Marquez would not take part in the Indonesian race.

During the journey back to Spain, Marc Marquez began to experience discomfort with his vision and upon his arrival in Barcelona on Monday, he had an emergency visit to the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona with his trusted ophthalmologist, Dr. Sánchez Dalmau, who after an examination confirmed a relapse in the diplopia that the rider suffered last November.

This morning, the Spanish rider visited his medical team, led by Dr. Samuel Antuña, at the Ruber Internacional Hospital in Madrid, where Marquez underwent a general medical check-up to evaluate all the bruises caused by the crash and a brain MRI. This has reconfirmed that he did not suffer any other injuries.

Doctor Sánchez Dalmau
Ophthalmologist

“The neuro-ophthalmological evaluation carried out on Marc Marquez on Monday after the head injury that occurred at the Indonesian Grand Prix, shows a new episode of diplopia caused by a recurrence of paralysis of the fourth right nerve, with less involvement than the one that occurred in the injury in November 2021. After this examination, it was initially decided to follow a conservative treatment with periodic medical tests. Next week, Marc Márquez will undergo a new check-up to evaluate the evolution of the injury and to predict the estimated recovery period to return to competition.”

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