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
“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.”