Marquez keeping lid on expectations for MotoGP return

Marc Marques rides an RC213V-S (road version of the RC213V MotoGP bike) at Barcelona-Catalunya in March

Marc Marquez’s aim is simply to “work well” when he returns to MotoGP competition after a season out, this weekend.

The six-time premier class world champion has finally been cleared to race again after breaking his right humerus in last year’s opening round.

Marquez has therefore missed the last 15 MotoGP races, including the first two of this season and the 2020 finale which saw Portimao host the category for the first time.

With Round 3 of 2021 taking the field back to the Portuguese track, the Repsol Honda pilot therefore has no grand prix experience at the circuit where he makes his comeback, although he did ride a road version of the RC213V there last month.

“I have a little bit of experience in Portugal but the aim of this weekend is to work well,” he said.

“Step by step, we are coming back and this is very positive after a long period.”

Marquez underwent surgery three times during the saga which his injury lay-off became, most recently in December to correct pseudarthrosis (non-union/false joint).

He had attempted to compete in the Andalucia Grand Prix just days after his first operation, but was soon forced into surgery a second time when the plate in his arm broke.

That was said to have ultimately occurred when the Spaniard tried to open a window/door at home, although the plate was weakened by the stress of the failed comeback bid which the man himself later admitted was a “mistake” but also a “decision of everybody”.

Marquez paid tribute to those who have been involved in his recovery, particularly his physiotherapist, ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Honda has advised, however, that he will be subjected to one more medical check at the circuit before being given final approval to ride.

“It’s a great feeling to be returning to MotoGP, with my team and my bike,” remarked Marquez.

“We have been working very hard to achieve this, many hours in the gym and with my physio Carlos [Garcia].

“We would have liked to have been in Qatar, but finally my doctors advised me against it and I listened to them.

“I have really focused on listening to the doctors and understanding my body so that I can return to MotoGP and do what I love.”

With Marquez reclaiming his seat from test rider Stefan Bradl, he will ride as team-mate to Pol Espargaro for the first time.

The latter, currently 11th in the championship after the two races at the Losail circuit which also hosted all official pre-season testing, believes that #93’s return will help him progress.

“We left Qatar with good information but without the results we were looking for,” admitted Espargaro.

“Portugal gives me a chance to start to understand the Honda more because it will be the first time not riding it in Losail.

“It’s a fun and very physical circuit to ride so I am excited to try the RC213V in Portugal. We need to continue to improve our performance and show the potential of the Honda.

“Of course, I am also very excited to have Marc back in the box, he is the reference in MotoGP and working with him will help us to raise our level.”

Practice starts on Friday night (AEST).

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