Marc Márquez will return this Friday to get on a MotoGP, 265 days later, and after three operations and a long rehabilitation process that has led him to miss the first two tests of 2021 and delay his return to a peculiar setting. To a circuit, the International of the Algarve, where he has never competed and in which he only has the experience of a few tests with Moto2, and the last test he did with a street Honda four weeks ago. “We decided to stop the motorcycle training last month and simply do a gym,” explained the Spanish rider, who appeared before the media for almost two hours yesterday, in English, Spanish and Catalan.
«I am not one hundred percent, I continue with the rehabilitation. We decided that it was the best moment for me as a professional, but also as a person. And now it’s time to feel the speed again, recover that mentally. And for the first fall to come, it will come. I feel butterflies in my stomach, ”said Márquez. He returns surrounded by great expectation not only from the fans, but also from his rivals, who have spent a season and two great prizes playing the quarters without the great dominator of the category in the last decade, in a MotoGP that has reached some historical levels of equality and intensity. The best example is that this third round of the calendar is reached with a leader, Johann Zarco, who competes in a satellite team, chased by the two official Yamaha riders, Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo, winners of the two races held in Qatar, with two podiums in which a rookie, Jorge Martín (third in the second event in the desert) has already been seen, and in which the world champion, Joan Mir, has not yet been.
«I think it will be a special weekend for him. He did not come to Qatar, he has come here, he knows that the bike works here and that it is a fairly favorable circuit for Honda, and he waited to be at one hundred percent to return with a high level. I would have done the same. I wish him well. I think it will be very fast. I do not know from what moment, but he will catch it quickly, “Mir opined, although his judgments did not coincide with those of Márquez, the reference for which he has been asked the most since he took the crown of the queen class. Because the Repsol Honda rider claims that he is not in full condition (he is still taking antibiotics as a result of the infection found after the last operation), and because his return is part of a decision made unanimously by the doctors, after evaluating all the risks you must take as a competition pilot. “The fall will come, I hope sooner rather than sooner,” the one from Cervera accepted on that “risk factor.” “It’s something I told the doctors, even if it was against me. I told him that my arm had to be ready to fall, because I don’t know how to do it any other way and the body has to be ready. This is part of this sport. But it’s not what worries me the most. What worries me the most is getting back to my riding style, ”he acknowledges.
More favorable for Honda than in Qatar
This Friday the first practice sessions of this Portuguese Grand Prix will begin, with a first session that could be in the wet. Even in these conditions, Márquez has announced that he is going to test, even if it is only a few laps. With the focus on the Spanish rider, although those around him are not going to stop to wait for anyone, least of all someone at the level of a six-time MotoGP world champion. This return, as Mir reasoned, comes in a more favorable scenario for Honda than Qatar, after last year Takaaki Nakagami was fifth, Stefan Bradl seventh with Marc Márquez’s motorcycle (the Spanish will use the base left by the German to begin his work), and his brother, Alex, ninth.
This in a circuit in which the local Miguel Oliveira dominated firmly, with the KTM, in a kind of imitation of what happened with Nicky Hayden when the World Championship visited another peculiar track, Laguna Seca. The ill-fated American took the victory in the first two visits to California, something that the Portuguese will pursue. “I have not said to rule out anything, because I do not rule out anything,” Márquez acknowledged about his possibilities, assuming he is who he is. «The better I am on the bike, the better the result will be, but I don’t set any goals for myself. But I do not rule out anything, “he insisted.