Marc Marquez will not ride at the Phillip Island test, scheduled for next week, and will only return to riding at the first race of the season at Qatar. After meeting with Dr Xavier Mir in Barcelona today, Marquez was told it would be better to rest and recuperate as fully as possible before attempting to ride a MotoGP bike again.
The decision to wait until the race at Qatar also settles a potential argument over testing at Phillip Island and Qatar. HRC had been contemplating sending Marquez to test with the satellite and Open class riders at Qatar, rather than the factory riders at Phillip Island, where they are testing tires for Bridgestone. Honda asked Race Direction for permission to allow Marquez to test at Qatar, but Yamaha and Ducati lodged an objection.
The split between factory and non-factory testing had been agreed at the end of last year, to give Bridgestone a chance to test tires, but Yamaha and Ducati feared that Marquez would gain an unfair advantage if he was allowed to test at Qatar just a week ahead of the season opener. If Marquez was to test at Qatar, Yamaha said, then Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi would test at Qatar as well, abandoning the tire test.
Paolo Ciabatti, head of Ducati's MotoGP project, told GPOne that allowing Marquez to test at Qatar would not be fair. They had put themselves at the disposal of the championship, to assist Bridgestone with the tire test, Ciabatti said. The Italian factory had originally proposed to test at Phillip Island only with their test riders, but Bridgestone had requested they send their factory riders, to provide the best data possible. Ducati had agreed, and they did not want to be punished by giving away an advantage to Marquez.
With Marquez now deciding to return only at the first race, the situation has been resolved. It also means that the reigning world champion has more time for his fractured fibula to heal. The official press release from Honda on the situation appears below:
Marquez to miss Phillip Island test
It is now confirmed that Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who broke his fibula last Wednesday in a training accident, will not be fit enough to test before the first race of 2014.
After a check-up today with Dr. Mir in Barcelona, it was advised that Marc takes this opportunity to rest, rather than risk further injury, in order to prepare for the Qatar GP, which will begin in just three weeks.
“I’m obviously disappointed that I’m not in Sepang at the moment and to miss Phillip Island is also unfortunate, but we believe it is the best decision. After my meeting today with Dr. Mir, although he was happy with the general situation of my leg after only seven days since the accident, he advised against taking unnecessary risk. So I will take time to rest and get myself as fit as possible to return to Qatar for the first race in the best shape possible”