Marc Márquez will not return to the MotoGP arena in the Spanish GP that takes place this weekend, between April 28 and 30, at the Jerez circuit. The eight-time world champion underwent a medical check-up on Tuesday with his trusted team in Madrid and confirmed that his injury to his right hand is progressing favourably, although not enough to return to competition without risk. The Honda rider suffered a fractured first metacarpal in his thumb on the first lap of the Portuguese GP, the opening event of the season, which forced him to undergo surgery the same day. The bone, after two Grand Prix and five weeks out, has still not healed satisfactorily and is prolonging its ordeal with injuries.
“Yesterday we did another CT scan and it has been confirmed that, despite the fact that the injury is progressing favourably, the bone has not yet finished healing and racing in Jerez was risky. Together with the medical team we have decided not to take any risks, wait two more weeks and return to Le Mans”, explains the Repsol Honda rider in a statement. “I am very sorry to miss the Spanish Grand Prix because it is always special, for the atmosphere, for racing at home and, above all, for seeing and enjoying the fans. I will continue with the rehabilitation and I will work to be back as soon as possible ”, he adds.
In Márquez’s head, in recent years, doubts about the withdrawal have emerged. The episodes of diplopia, the operations on the humerus and now the hand. All the setbacks have deeply penetrated the most reflective version of the champion, who turned 30 in February. “And there are more things, surely, I think personal”, says Dani Pedrosa, his former teammate at Honda, a DAZN commentator and special guest for the Jerez race with KTM. “I’ve been in situations like that…it’s hard to explain. Situations in which one thing after another, after another and after another [va mal]”, adds the legend of Spanish motorcycling. Even his grandfather, in his native Cervera, tells him that it is no longer worth it. “If the gas goes well, and if not, I will listen to you. I’ll hang up the monkey and that’s it”, Marc comments in the documentary Marc Marquez: All In. “It’s what you should do,” Ramón replies insistently. For a steel rider, who had not missed any World Cup event since his debut in the premier class in 2013 until his accident at the Ángel Nieto circuit, the last three years without being 100% have been especially hard. Since 2020, he has missed 28 races of the 56 held in the series, counting the one at the weekend in Jerez.
It was on this stage, precisely, where the champion of the championship in the last decade suffered an injury to his right humerus that started a nightmare that still haunts him. His hard fall in the first grand prix of 2020 forced him to undergo surgery, but the surprise came when the following weekend, on the same stage, he tested himself on the motorcycle as if nothing had happened. The severe pain made him withdraw, but due to the load imposed on the joint, days later the titanium plate that fixed the bone broke when he tried to open a window at home. It was his “big mistake”, the biggest in his sporting career as he himself recognized. After his second operation in 13 days, the discomfort persisted and the third came in December in just six months. In 2021 he competed and even won three races despite persistent discomfort, also in his everyday life. His humerus had consolidated with a deviation of 30 degrees from the standards of human anatomy, and in 2022 the pilot said enough in Mugello to spend the last bullet on him.
The fourth operation, at the beginning of June of last year in a specialized clinic in the United States, corrected the bad posture of the bone and the following steps were carefully measured. Nothing to force, nothing to repeat the mistakes of the past. Much patience. Although he returned in the final stretch of the course to rehabilitate after three and a half months inactive, a podium finish in Australia allowed him to see his improvement. Márquez worked harder than ever this winter to return to his best level. “The fourth operation and the improvement in the quality of life is very good, but my great passion is motorcycles. And what makes me happy is winning ”, he assured in an interview with EL PAÍS before traveling to Portugal. His attack on Miguel Oliveira after signing the pole position and a podium in the sprint on Saturday, was the great image of the opening of the course the following day. Beyond the sanction –two long laps that for now he will not have to complete due to the precautionary suspension while the appeal presented by his team is resolved– and the controversial drag, his rough start has been a brutal mental blow when he already saw himself fighting for the qualification.