Current world champion, Marc Marquez, will not be back for the European Grand Prix, the third-to-last round of the MotoGP World Championship, due to be held next weekend (November 6-8) at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste, Valencia (Spain).
Repsol Honda confirmed the news this Tuesday, pleading the ongoing recovery of the Catalan pilot’s right arm. The news came as no surprise to the paddock. Stefan Bradl, test driver for the Japanese team, had already spilled the beans at an interview during the Teruel GP.
It was there in Alcañiz, that the German pilot leaked the news to the press. Bradl affirmed that the squad of the golden wing had told him he was going to be replacing the Spaniard for the remaining three rounds of this most unusual championship.
The Japanese structure, however, was obviously uncomfortable with the German pilot’s indiscretion and forced him to retract publicly. Bradl then declared his words had only been a personal opinion. The rectification came too late, the damage was done and the press was going crazy.
The six-time MotoGP World Champion, Marc Marquez, has been absent from the competition since the inaugural test, the Spanish MotoGP on July 19.
There, he fractured the humerus in his right arm and had to go under the knife 48 hours after the accident (July 21). Three days later he flew from Barcelona to the Jerez Circuit (July 24) to take part in the Andalusian Grand Prix. He never managed to race. At the free practice session on Saturday the 25 of July, he realised he lacked the strength in his injured arm.
But that was not the end of the Spaniard rider’s misfortunes. Thirteen days later, on August the 3, he had to go into the operating room once more. The titanium plate used to mend his initial fracture had broken and had to be replaced with another prosthesis.
From that moment on, comments by his team and by the pilot himself regarding his return to the competition became more and more conservative. So much so that they avoided giving the press an approximate date for his return.
The specialized media, however, has a growing feeling that Marc Marquez’s recovery is going to be slower and a lot more arduous than initially anticipated.
Honda had originally planned to have its champion fighting fit for the final part of this season. They also hoped that Marc would help in the development of the bike for 2021.
He is known to be the only pilot capable of taming the Asian beast and so the only one that can ultimately provide the necessary feedback to make this a bit more docile.
Making the RC213V more versatile, so that the other Honda pilots competing in the MotoGP World Championship can take full advantage of its power, has become a primary objective for the team. They are, however, running out of options.
In any case, the word out there is that Marc Marquez will not be returning to the track this season. After the Grand Prix of Europe, there will be just one more appointment left, also in Cheste (November 13-15) before the grand finale in Portugal.
And that is if the coronavirus pandemic does not force the cancellation of the Portuguese GP (20-22 November), shortening the championship and leaving no time for the #93 to return.
For now, the official word is that the date of return will depend entirely on how the champion feels, and his fitness to compete will be reassessed for every coming race. Some news outlets, however, are spreading the rumour that the pilot might need to undergo a third operation.
Images of Marc Marquez: Marc Marquez Twitter.