On The Road To Return: Marc Marquez Rides A Minibike, Heads To Qatar For A Vaccine

Marc Marquez sits on his Honda RC213V while recovering from injury at the Barcelona MotoGP round in 2020

Marc Marquez has finally started taking major steps toward a return to racing in MotoGP. Four major milestones were passed by the six-time MotoGP champion in the past week: he received the go ahead to start training more intensively, he rode a bicycle for the first time in months, he rode a motorcycle for the first time since Jerez last year, and he flew to Qatar to receive the vaccine against Covid-19 being offered by the Qatari regime to everyone in the MotoGP paddock.

On Friday, the Repsol Honda team announced that Marc Marquez had been given the green light to start to intensify his training, as the growth and consolidation of the bone in his right humerus was satisfactory and strong enough for him to start to place serious weight on the arm.

Marquez followed that up on Saturday with a couple of social media posts. In the first one, he was out cycling on his mountain bike, calling that "another small step".

The second post showed Marquez riding a minibike at an unspecified track, with a caption stating that he had ridden a motorbike for the first time in eight months, since his failed return at the Jerez 2 round at the end of July 2020.

To top it all off came the news that Marquez had flown to Qatar on Saturday, in order to vaccinated against the Coronavirus. The Spaniard had arrived on Saturday afternoon, for the specific purpose of receiving the first of his two vaccinations.

This timeline points to a path to Marc Marquez' full time return to the MotoGP paddock. Riding a minibike is a very, very long way from riding a MotoGP machine, but it is a small first step. The next step will be riding his flat track bike, a more physically demanding exercise. From that, he progresses to riding motocross, and then a fully-fledged production sports bike on a proper track.

It seems unlikely that Marquez can fit all that in within the next 13 days before the first race of the season at Qatar. Marquez is on the provisional entry list for Qatar, though that is a formality given he is one of the two official riders in the Repsol Honda team. It does give him options, should he decide he is fit enough, and it also allows Honda to maintain that Stefan Bradl's role is as a test rider, a notion which became more difficult to uphold through 2020 as Marquez missed the entire season.

Marquez will be in Qatar around the time of the first race, though. The Repsol Honda rider has traveled to Qatar to receive his first dose of the vaccine, but most return to be given his second dose in two weeks time. Those jabs are due to be given in the week between the first and second races in Qatar. 

That offers the intriguing prospect of a possible return to racing at the second round in Qatar. The timeframe for the first race is exceptionally tight, and perhaps more challenging that Marquez is willing to attempt given his experience with the aftermath of the Jerez crash last year. The second race is set to happen in three weeks' time, which would give Marquez that little bit of extra time to prepare more fully and test himself on various types of motorcycle.

Of course, Marquez may decide just to head to Qatar for his second vaccination, and then return home to prepare for a return at Portimão on April 18th, or wait another two weeks after that for Jerez. At this point in time, we can only guess: Marquez and his entourage, including his management, have remained silent on their plans, on occasion keeping even Honda in the dark. Marquez will return when he is ready. But that could be sooner than we think.

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Comments

For some reason, the tune "Everyday, it's a-gettin' closer, Goin' faster than a roller coaster" started going around in my head.cool

So many people seem to have ruled out Marquez for this season and are only talking about Morbidelli vs Mir vs Miller for the title.

But you're right David, he will return sooner than many think. He may not be immediately on top but I bet he'll be thereabouts.

I find it very odd that the Spanish goverment hasnt reached out and offered MM the vaccine. For him to fly to quatar and back can`t be the best solution..

Then three days later he is riding a RC213V-S!

I have had the debate in the office that a 80% MM93 can win the world title, we are going to find out this year as he wont be 100% for most of it!