Marc Marquez will not ride in the opening two rounds of the 2021 MotoGP world championship, ending speculation that he would attempt a dramatic return from severe arm injuries in the Qatar Grand Prix this weekend.
The six-time series champion was recently declared fit to ‘gradually’ return to MotoGP action with Honda after a satisfactory check-up on his broken arm in which doctors were finally able to say that the bone has regrown sufficiently – almost eight months on from his initial accident.
Marquez underwent major surgery in early December to graft a piece of bone from his pelvis to his arm to aid regrowth, and was then forced to spend a week in hospital after contracting an infection in the bone.
That ‘gradual’ timeline then sped up dramatically in the subsequent week, with Marquez first jumping on a Honda RC213V-S (essentially the production racer version of his title-winning 2017 machine) at Barcelona and then again at Portimao, gauging his level of fitness and starting rumours that he would attempt to return at the opening race.
But in a statement released today, he and the team have confirmed that he is not ready to race yet, with Honda test rider Stefan Bradl continuing to stand in for him.
Honda’s statement said that “considering the time period and the current state of the bone consolidation process, doctors consider it prudent and necessary not to accelerate Marquez’s return to the track after such an inactive time, and to avoid putting the humerus at risk in intense competition”.
Marquez will now await a further medical check-up on April 12, at the start of the week leading into MotoGP’s third round at Portimao.
“After the last review with the medical team, the doctors have advised me that the most prudent thing was not to take part in the Qatar Grand Prix and to continue with the recovery plan that we have followed in recent weeks,” said Marquez.
“I would have loved to be able to participate in the opening race of the world championship, but we will have to continue working to be able to recover the optimal conditions that allow us to return to competition.”
He last competed in the 2020 season-opener at Jerez in July last year, when he suffered the crash that caused his initial arm injury then complicated his recovery by trying to return for the following weekend’s race.