Marc Marquez has finally been given the green light to return to racing. On Friday, the Repsol Honda rider visited the doctors in Madrid who have been treating him since his decision to have a third operation on the right humerus he broke at the opening round in 2020 in Jerez, and the doctors assessed that the bone growth in his humerus was finally strong enough to assume the normal risks associated with racing, and crashing. That means that Marquez will make his MotoGP return next Friday, the 16th of April, when he takes to the track at Portimao for free practice.
It has been a long and difficult road for Marquez. He broke his humerus as he cut his way through the field trying to recover the ground lost after running wide and off track in the opening race of the 2020 season, at Jerez in July. He had surgery later that week, and was doing push ups again on the day after his surgery. He attempted to ride in the Andalusian round at Jerez, the Saturday after breaking his humerus. But he pulled out after FP4.
That attempt to ride proved to be a very bad decision. The stresses involved in preparing and trying to ride stressed the plate inserted into his humerus, and it eventually broke as he tried to open heavy glass patio doors. A second operation to replace the plate resulted in an infection of the bone, preventing the bone from growing and recovering strength, and eventually, a third operation was needed, to clean the infected site, replace the plate a second time, and insert bone growth agent.
Since that operation, in mid-December 2020, Marquez has made slow but steady recovery toward full fitness. He rode a minibike at a track for the first time on March 12th, and took part in a track day on a Honda RC213V-S production bike at Barcelona a couple of days later. Another track day at Portimao followed, but at that point, his doctors judged the bone consolidation of the humerus was not sufficiently advanced to allow the Spaniard to race safely again. Marquez was forced to miss the two opening rounds at Qatar, though at the insistence of his entourage, the press release issued stated only that he would miss the first race, even though Marquez himself posted on social media that he would miss both races.
Another inspection was planned, this time for the week before Portimao. The date for his medical assessment was announced as April 12th, but like many of the announcements in the run up to his return, that date was incorrect, to throw journalists off the trail and allow Marquez to take a more measured approach. He actually underwent the exam on Friday, April 9th, and the announcement he had been passed fit was made this morning, April 10th.
The big question is how Marquez will approach his return, and whether any lingering fears from this traumatic process will affect the riding of the six-time MotoGP champion. There are hints of this in his past. In an interview with MotoMatters at Assen 2018, Marc Marquez talked about fear when riding after the huge crash he suffered at the end of the straight at Mugello in 2013. He didn't believe he was afraid, he explained, but the data showed otherwise. "I think that was because I was afraid, because normally in that point it's full gas, and after that crash I was closing the gas. And my data recording guy says, 'Look at Dani and Cal, they are full gas, just try to be full gas,' but I said to him 'No, I'm full gas'. But I thought that I was full gas, but always I was closing the throttle. I said, 'No, I'm full, check the data', they said 'no, look' and then I went out again and I thought it was full gas, but no, I was closing. But it was the only time. The rest of the time I am not afraid."
His record bears him out. After that incident, Marquez went on to win the title at his first attempt, becoming the youngest ever MotoGP champion in history. And his success continued, winning in 2014, and from 2016 through 2019. In 2019, Marquez achieved the unparalleled feat in the modern era of finishing no lower than second in every race bar Austin, where he crashed out. Marc Marquez may take a little while to get up to speed. But there is little doubt that he will.
The press release from the Repsol Honda team and Marc Marquez' tweet announcing his return appear below:
Marquez cleared to return
In the review carried out on Marc Marquez by the Hospital Ruber Internacional medical team, four months after surgery, led by Doctors Samuel Antuña and Ignacio Roger de Oña, and made up of Doctors De Miguel, Ibarzabal and García Villanueva, for an infected pseudoarthrosis of the right humerus, a very satisfactory clinical condition was found, with evident progress in the bone consolidation process. In the current situation, Marquez can return to competition, assuming the reasonable risk implicit in his sporting activity.
I'M VERY HAPPY! Yesterday I visited the doctors and they gave me the green light to return to competition. They have been 9 difficult months, with moments of uncertainties and ups and downs, and now, I will be able to enjoy my passion again!
See you next week in Portimao!! 😁😁✊🏼 pic.twitter.com/ClZj4L4yf3
— Marc Márquez (@marcmarquez93) April 10, 2021