Marc Marquez Has Third Surgery To Fix Non-Union Fracture Of Right Arm Broken In Jerez

Marc Márquez has had a third operation on the fractured right humerus he injured at the opening round at Jerez, and then broke again some ten days later. After many hours of speculation, the Repsol Honda team issued a press release confirming earlier reports that the Spaniard had undergone an operation at the Clinica Ruber in Madrid, to fit a new plate and take a bone graft from his hip to promote bone growth. The third operation was deemed necessary after the fracture has failed to heal as quickly as hoped.

Márquez' woes began at the first MotoGP race of the 2020 season at Jerez, after the Repsol Honda rider ran wide at Turn 4 and rode through the gravel on lap 5, and lost 9 seconds as a result. The Spaniard rejoined, and then set about slicing his way through the field, eventually ending up in third place and hot on the heels of Maverick Viñales.

It all went wrong again for Márquez on the exit of Turn 3. The rear of Márquez' Honda RC213V stepped out, bit, and flicked him off into the gravel on the outside of the corner. As he tumbled through the gravel, the front wheel of his Honda smashed into his right arm, breaking his humerus.

Márquez was lined up for surgery on the Tuesday after the first Jerez round, and by the following day was sending videos to his team of himself doing pushups on his freshly plated arm. He persuaded Honda and his team to try to race at Jerez 2, and was passed fit to try by the circuit medical staff.

That turned out to be a bad idea. Márquez sat out all of Friday, and rode in FP3, posting a respectable time just 1.3 seconds off the pace of Maverick Viñales. But in FP4, he felt a sudden tweak in his arm, and realized he was unable to continue. He withdrew, in the hope of being fit to race two weeks later at Brno.

Márquez' hopes were dashed a week later, when he got up to open a heavy sliding glass door to let his dogs out of his house, and felt something move inside the arm. He was taken to hospital, where scans revealed that the plate inserted had failed to unite the bone fragments, which had separated again.

Since then, Márquez has had scans on his arm every week to monitor progress on his arm, but the fracture has failed to heal properly, creating what is known as a non-union fracture. Márquez has put off a third operation to treat this problem for as long as possible, in the hope that the arm would heal of its own accord. But that has failed to happen.

Márquez finally opted for further surgery at the beginning of the month, with a specialist clinic in Madrid performing the surgery. The operation removed the old plate and replaced it with a new one, and took a bone graft from his hip to promote bone growth. This operation has proven to be very successful in the case of a non-union fracture, as the bone taken from the crest of the hip has a lot of blood vessels running through it and very strongly promotes the growth of new bone. It is often used in cases where bone growth has been much slower than expected.

Though the success rate for the procedure used for Marc Márquez is high, he still faces a long recovery period. Typical recovery period for a non-union fracture of the humerus treated with corticoperiosteal free flap is six months, though that can vary from between 3 and 12 months. That would mean that Márquez is extremely likely to miss the Sepang test scheduled for the middle of February, and potentially the start of the 2021 season, due to kick off at Qatar on March 28th.

That, of course, presupposes that the provisionally scheduled 2021 test and race calendars can go ahead as planned. Given the experience of 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic, there are good reasons to believe the first part of the season may be disrupted or rescheduled, until the European winter spike in Covid-19 cases eases off, and the effects of vaccination programs start to kick in. Any delay or rescheduling would give Marc Márquez additional time for his recovery.

If Márquez is forced to miss the first few races of the season, the Repsol Honda team will once again be forced to look for a replacement until the eight-time world champion is able to race again. Stefan Bradl would naturally be a candidate, but there is a good chance that Honda might turn to Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian had been in extended talks with HRC for a role as test rider and replacement in the case of injury, but those talks had failed when the two parties had been unable to come to terms. But with a role as a straight replacement rider, there would be fewer complications putting Dovizioso on the Repsol bike.

All that is still some way in the future, however. First Marc Márquez and Honda will have to wait to see how his recovery progresses. That will take at least a month, and possibly more, before the speed of his recovery can be assessed.

The Repsol Honda press release announcing the surgery appears below:


Marc Marquez undergoes a new operation

Marc Marquez has undergone a new operation on his right arm as a result of the slow healing of the humerus bone, which has not improved with specific shock wave treatment.

Today the rider has undergone surgery at the Hospital Ruber Internacional, in Madrid, for a pseudarthrosis of the right humerus.

The surgery, carried out by a team made up of doctors Samuel Antuña, Ignacio Roger de Oña, Juan de Miguel, Aitor Ibarzabal and Andrea Garcia Villanueva, consisted of the removal of the previous plate and the placement of a new plate with the addition of an iliac crest bone graft with a corticoperiosteal free flap.

The surgical procedure lasted for eight hours and was uneventful.


If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, supporting us on Patreon, by making a donation, or contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

Source: 

Back to top

Comments

... when I had my femur put back together, I don't envy him. 

That said, it did speed up the healing process.

Pain from the hip wound considerably "outdid" the broken leg, but didn't last too long.

As much as we enjoyed the 2020 season without Marquez leading, winning, or placing himself on the podium at every single race, I sure hope he gets well enough to find a way back for 2021. It would be a massive loss if this were (touching wood), a career ending injury.

I'm not sure I'm over the loss of Spies to his shoulder injuries yet...

Completely agree. We've had our novelty season without Marc, now we need to see him back in action! However, it would certainly make things interesting were he to return 3 or 4 races into the season. I suspect it wouldn't take too long for him to catch up, provided his recovery is 100%.

Seems a bit worrying that the same corrner has halted the career of two of the sport's all-time greats. Why not re-camber it to make it a little more forgiving?

Buena suerte con el brazo Marc! 

^ I spent a long time sad about The Ben too! They should also do a similar procedure grafting something into the Honda's chassis geometry and flex? There has been concern about it bucking you off for a few years. It doesn't feel good to be right about that at ALL. Thought you would come back for the last three rounds. Betting you heal fine and return strong. When you do, how about checking out the new tire edge grip a bit? Carving, rather than drift careening? You might like it? 

Mejorante pronto Senor Marquez

Having seen all the chat around the web and on social media, we should go easy on identifying a culprit for all this. If there are any orthopods reading, any surgeons for that matter, they will all tell you that every doctor, no matter how good they are, has cases with a poor outcome. That's because every patient is unique, every injury/disease site is unique. We should also reflect that, while we wince at people coming back extraordinarily early, by and large we show admiration. Just look at Sam Lowes less than 2 weeks ago. The best people to stand in judgement of the rules are riders past and present.... especially past, as many of them can now make an informed decision about whether it was worth it. 

A bike rider has been programmed to ride no matter what! This is down to poor mangement from Honda. When MM93 came back for Jerez II everyman and his dog knew this was too much and so it proved. Given how inconsistent (apart from Mir) the paddock was over the course of 2020 he could have sat out races in 2020 and still challenge for the title. This is what happens perhaps when the tail is wagging the dog! 

As a MM fan, I hope he comes back soon and fully fit. That said, I do not for one minute believe the narrative that has been fed to us since practically day one. MM throwing Dr Mir under the bus after his incident in FP4 of Jerez II, that was lame. Did he rebreak his arm opening a sliding door, I doubt it. Much more likely, he shifted/broke the plate during FP4, and they had to wait a week for the swelling to go down before surgery II. I have had non-unions and bone harvested from my hip. As others have stated, the hip was more painful then the non-union repair site. I do question the use of yet another plate, the healed arm will be more robust without it.

Conspicuous by his absence. Hmmm. I am no MM fan but I wish him the best. I hope for him to be back in top form as he is an entire race series' worth of entertainment all by himself. Non-union sounds like a not good kind of break. Takes me back to that arm flopping after the bike clipped him...eww, can't watch replays. When one defies the laws of physics there comes a time when the law of averages comes into play. Marc has had a great run, maybe the greatest ever, but something tells me he won't be the same again. Sincerely, I hope I'm wrong.

You're not in my opinion. Just my gut feeling and the way I see it. To me, Marquez falls into the category of the twice as bright candles that burns half as long. His greatest talent was his only weakness. Playing with the limit. Both on track and with his body. At the very least, Marquez is a long ways off from using his right arm to save front end crashes. Look what happened when Rossi returned to Yamaha after his misadventure at Ducati. The competition had taken a step forward and Marquez burst onto the scene.

Marquez has a very strong mind. He'll try his darndest to heal. But sometimes we can't control what happens. Covid has been teaching us that this year. If we don't place limits on the power of the mind, then we have to include the power of all minds. And because this sport is fan based, not all fans want to see Marquez succeed.

Brian! I see a possible second play at that Triumph shirt? I see VR46 going Suzuki, AND The Marc healing just fine. I am no doctor, nor Yellow lenses for The Doctor, but I feel pretty good about these. The first is a longshot for me, and the second is maybe one for you? Since I lost w Vale once already...

Betcha a shirt that Marc is fit mid season? (Covid has me avoiding the Post Office, but yours will come I promise). Methinks big bones heal up ok, unlike shoulders which are a bigger issue. He is still Skittley. Not polite to say, but I agree that Marc starting the season unfit may make for a better 2021. And, no I don't like Honda's MotoGP program for many longer standing reasons. I tried to like Puig even, but he made it difficult. What a jerk. Marc though? I like The Marc! The kid is beautiful. I wish he was fully fit, and ready to ride at the test. On an Aprilia. 

;)

Sure enough I'll put the Triumph shirt up for stakes. I believe Rossi will go to Ducati taking over the Esponsorama (sp>?) frmrly Avintia team where he sent his brother. Suzuki should be set with that sweet sweet Monster money, just add Dovi and Aron Canet and there you have it. As for Marc: I don't want to bet on his health. I feel bad for him but I have no information and don't feel right gambling on his future. I have a feeling he won't come back 100% but I don't want to find myself rooting for that outcome. He is truly the best I've seen in a long time and I do hope he recovers fully. It's no fun saying 'What if...' as we must with Wayne Rainey and so many others, even Doohan. I will put the Triumph shirt on the line: I say Rossi doesn't go to Suzuki - spits on palm, extends hand...

Oh boy. I get the longshot particular scenario. I hear you on the poor taste/character of betting on ill health. Dovi back? Oof. That gets wilder. He may even end up at HRC either testing or riding, Bradl can't really do both again right? Or he may NEVER be back. I guarantee he won't ever ever be seen sitting on a Ducati again though. 

Odds? VR46 to Ducati vs Suzuki? (Vs Yamaha?). Odds, I would say 1) Yamaha, 2) Ducati, and 3) Suzuki. So, dumb bet on my part. Ok, you bet Yellow Ducati, and I bet Yellow Suzuki, anything else is a draw? One motorbike shirt (again).

Great! I will take it. Heart over head when the stakes are low. Speaking of steaks, tonight is inch thick dry rubbed seared ones with mixed vegetables and some red potatoes with cheddar, a pan sauce. Pale ale. And a rewatch of "Hitting The Apex" on the tele. 

Will cheers-toast Motomatters friends. Feel free to join.

Vroooom! "The race never ends..."

 

I predict VR46 to Esponsorama. You say Suzuki. Any other outcome a push - Agreed.

Spit shake!

(Funny, but we could not only both lose, but both WIN if Avintia goes Suzuki with VR46, hugely unlikely. Are you aware how very Spanish the Avintia Team is? My odds look ok!)

Too many permutations for my wee mind to keep straight. Avintia going Suzuki I hadn't thought about. I have been thinking the Monster loot would go toward satellite team bringing two more bikes onto the grid. Then someday if/when Aprilia ever get with the program they would replace the 5th and 6th Ducati giving 6 manus 4 bikes each.

The only special thing about Marcs crash was what preceded it because his riding was jaw dropping. Other than that, it was a crash, while racing, resulting in a broken arm and luckily nothing more severe. There will be racers out there who have had the same injury from a crash regardless of their levels of talent.

I don't know. I fail to see any special significance beyond a bike racer having bike racing issues. All careers end (except Rossi it seems), if he's out for good then that's just the way it turned out...8 titles !!!! I don't think it makes sense to imagine Marc Marquez should have/could have ridden other than he has. It's that riding which has brought him enormous success.

Marc is 27, one of the most talented guys on a MotoGP ever (love or hate him that much is beyond doubt), an extremely determined and motivated individual which naturally leads him to being ferociously hard working. From what i've read and heard...you could say the same about Mick.

Mick Doohan crashed at Assen aged 27 and although a completely different injury, it was also full of nasty complications. Two years later and two years older...the rest is history as they say, including the next big one in 1999.

 

You have to wonder if, while at home during the crazy 2020 season and his difficult recovery, Marc might have been wishing that he hadn't made the amazing save in the early laps in the Spanish GP. Most riders would have been down in the gravel and out of the race but unhurt and back on the bike the following week. Had he slid out that way he very likely could have cruised on to another championship and denied us of all those new winners on the top step. 

 

As I'd exhausted this august site and had no Paddock Pass podcasts left to listen to AND was undertaking a painfully boring household chore, I popped my ear buds in and listened to two other respected podcasts. One had Tody Moody & Simon Patterson saying MM is six WEEKS away from being ready, around the Sepang test, whilst the similarly credible podcast of Motorsport magazine Tank Slappers, featuring the very well connected Oriol Puigdemont were saying he's six MONTHS away, missing the first 4-5 rounds. That's a big difference...

 

Been enjoying Moody's podcasts too, but notably not as much as "ours" here. Hearing here like "normal regular human" prognosis for that procedure is 3 to 6 month recovery. As we know none of these guys are and don't take that long, getting special treatments and being oddly good healers. Plus getting going as soon as possible with compensation. Marc especially, despite the 2020 chink in that armor of narrative. So forth. 

Infection in there too, eh? Hmm. Still though, "just a big bone on an extremity" and treatable. Couple months?

The only correct replacement rider is Casey Stoner.

Hi Matt. Look for "The Race MotoGP Podcast" where you get such media for Moody's. I use Spotify, so no link avail this time. 

Had a nice 150mph rip around town today, cops be damned. Rear was spinning, hard to get heat in the tires. Full fleece under leathers, scarf. Not too cold. Got the heart pumping. Hope you folks are finding fun in a pandemic off-season.