Marc Marquez’s crash in Turn 3, in which his Repsol Honda hit him in the gravel bed and probably caused a broken bone on his upper arm, which in itself was not the cause of his long forced break, but his attempt to make a comeback much too early.

The former high-flyer and his hard landing in reality

The words still ring in the ears of many MotoGP fans today, which Marc Marquez uttered after his attempt at comeback far too early over a year ago in Jerez de la Frontera. The Repsol Honda Star said into the microphone at the time that he would now prepare for a new return, and he guaranteed his fans that he would come back stronger than ever. Just four days after his upper arm surgery due to a fracture that he suffered in his crash in Turn 3 of the Circuito Angel Nieto in his violent crash in the gravel bed, he was emphatically combative. His attempt was, of course, far too early and, from the point of view of his doctors, far too risky. Later, it was even known that a titanium plate that had been operated on for stabilization had bent under the heavy loads. Presumably this also triggered an infection, which extended the healing process to a good nine months. With an implausible story, it was later claimed that this damage happened when a window was opened. Of course, no one believed that.

Marc Marquez on the stretcher with a ruff – immediately after the accident in Jerez de la Frontera, it became clear that this time it had not turned out as lightly as usual for the then reigning world champion and so-called “king of saves”. Once, with around 30 falls per season, it just had to come like that.

The amazing new assessment of his achievements

Quite a few fans rubbed their eyes in amazement while reading about their first results after their return. Even when listening to the sayings of many commentators, numerous viewers certainly scratched their heads. The six-time world champion had meticulously prepared for his comeback in Portugal. Before that, there had been some distraction, apparently deliberately, to cover up the timing of his return. However, it could not have been a coincidence that he went to Portimão to test a MotoGP replica from Honda that cost almost 200,000 euros. The pictures of him in the Repsol Honda livery were immediately shared on social media channels. But as he sat on the RC213V to compete for the Portuguese Grand Prix, the real seriousness of life began for him.

The media fuss about his comeback in Portimão was disproportionate to his driving skills – for which Marc made the whole thing ridiculous with plenty of theatrical exercises on his right upper arm.

The performance was modest compared to the cocky announcements
Not only Marquez himself seemed to regret his full-bodied announcements when he got back. His team and well-meaning clerks also did their part. While Valentino Rossi had stunned laypeople and experts a few years earlier with a fifth place shortly after a broken leg, the former high-flyer, on the other hand, remained astonishingly human. In the first race after a compulsory break of around nine months, Marc benefited from the falls of numerous drivers in front of him at the Portuguese GP. Otherwise, it would hardly have made it into the top ten. In that sense, the surprising new assessment of his performance for a modest seventh place was something not everyone understood. Especially those who remembered his announcement from summer 2020.

Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia) ahead of Marc Marquez (Honda) – Pol’s older brother, Marquez’s new team-mate, was hardly worth a line to most reporters despite a sensationally strong performance in Portugal. For every fair sportsman and neutral observer, this bordered on bullying.

The Dorna also behaved extremely unfairly – but above all towards other drivers
Almost everyone took part in the fuss about the Repsol Honda Star, especially the mostly Spanish people from Dorna. Suddenly everyone was talking and reporting only about Marc, although this was in no relation to the performance he had shown. A good example of this were the photos that Dorna made available after the races, and of which an estimated one-third showed the Catalans. In addition, about 13 pictures of Valentino Rossi who fell in the race without a spectator, but there was not a single one of a man. We are talking about Aprilia sensation man Aleix Espargaró. After two astonishing top ten results in Losail, he achieved an excellent sixth place despite an endless straight in Portimão. The sun boy from Granollers had seen the chequered flag right in front of Marc and clearly put the Honda man in his place. To have achieved this on the Aprilia, which was clearly inferior in terms of top speed, was unbelievably good, but hardly worth a line to anyone afterwards.

Marc Marquez in Jerez de la Frontera after his first violent crash in 2021, falling on fours in front of his completely destroyed Repsol Honda – it was a first sign of confirmation that the “old” Marc from earlier no longer existed. Even an intermediate high on the narrow Sachsenring did not change that, in which he achieved an undisputedly strong victory.

After a six-week summer break – no light at the end of the tunnel

Even before the first race in Spielberg, Marquez sounded as modest as you only got to know after his comeback. Despite a full six weeks of summer break and thus a recovery time that had never been of such a duration before Corona. Until the end of July 2020, Marc was never known to be so humble. Anyone who watched the Styrian Grand Prix could see a desperately fighting Honda driver who, despite all the fighting, was completely overshadowed by drivers like Brad Binder and Takaaki Nakagami. The fast South African started from 16th on the grid on his KTM, three rows behind Marquez, who started from P8. Because the Japanese also saw the chequered flag over 5 seconds ahead of his Repsol Honda brand colleague, there are no excuses, as is so often the case, when it comes to the performance of the Honda RC213V. It is definitely not because of the bike that the 6-time world champion hardly sees any light at the end of the tunnel. He has long since lost the aura of invincibility and the respect of his opponents anyway. First and foremost Aleix Espargaró, whom Marc almost knocked off his bike twice in a row in Turn 1 in the Styrian GP.

The fallen Marc Marquez and his Repsol Honda on the ground – he used to smile when describing his frequent crashes, but today he comments on these incidents with a completely new seriousness, in which you can also feel the uncertainty associated with them. The former high-flyer is no longer the same as before his forced break, and with that we are experiencing a whole new championship.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).