Repsol Honda has officially confirmed that injured MotoGP champion Marc Marquez won’t return for this weekend’s opening Valencia round.
The news increases the probability that, as reported in the Spanish media and unofficially confirmed by HRC test rider Stefan Bradl at Aragon, Marquez is unlikely to be seen again on track this season.
Only the pair of Valencia rounds then the Portimao finale now remain. But it is hard to imagine the ever-competitive Marquez letting his rivals have the ‘head start’ of taking part in Valencia 1 before joining them on track in Valencia 2.
As a new MotoGP event, Portimao would offer the levelest playing field for a rider that has missed almost the entire season.
But so far there have been none of the motocross or flat track training videos that preceded his return to MotoGP action after major shoulder surgery for the last two winters.
Although doing gym work, running and cycling, the lack of footage of Marquez on a motorcycle several months after his accident continues to fuel rumours that his arm may not be healing as well as expected.
In its report, Mundo Deportivo suggested a third operation is being considered, prompting Repsol Honda to state: “Marc Marquez’s recovery is proceeding as planned. While it is a long and intense recovery, Marc and those [in] his team have no cause for concern.”
Marquez broke his right arm in the Jerez season-opener in late July, but then needed a second surgery when the titanium plate fitted to the initial fracture failed, due to the accumulated stress of attempting an early return the following weekend.
While it is known that 12 pins and a plate were inserted in the first operation – Marquez even posting an X-ray on social media – details of the second operation to replace the broken plate remain scarce.
The only timeframe issued by HRC since Marquez’s second operation was a ‘two-three months’ estimate, provided on August 22, meaning somewhere between October 22 and November 22.
Portimao takes place on November 22, with Marquez previously commenting: “I hope to be there.”
If not, many will fear the arm recovery is indeed proving much more complicated than expected.
Meanwhile, Bradl will continue in place of the #93 this weekend, alongside Alex Marquez.
“I am very pleased that the Repsol Honda Team have continued to put their faith in me and return to ride the RC213V again,” Bradl said. “We have done some testing at Valencia in the past and in Aragon we made a good step with the bike, I think we can have a good weekend here and again battle with riders further ahead as we did in Aragon and Le Mans as well.
“Always at around this time of the year in Valencia the temperature, especially in the morning, can be critical so we will have to pay attention to this.”