Fans are rightfully concerned about Marc Márquez’ state of form following his third consecutive crash of the season at the Catalan GP last week. The Spaniard had never suffered such a disastrous streak in his entire career.
The excitement surrounding his comeback nine months after suffering a very serious injury has given way to feelings of concern. His best result of 2021 so far came on his very first race back, the Portuguese GP , where he took a very noteworthy seventh place.
It was just a mirage. In the four Grand Prix that followed, the situation has gotten increasingly dire. To sum it all up, Marc Marquez has accumulated more accidents and bad results in the five appointments of 2021 so far than in the eight previous seasons altogether.
Before this fateful season and since joining the Motorcycle World Championship in 2008, Márquez had never been more than four races without winning. Now, after his crash in Montmeló and if we also take into account Jerez 2020, he has gone six races without climbing to the top of the podium.
His performance for pole position hasn’t been much better either. In four of the five rounds of 2021, he had to go through Q1 and qualified only on three occasions. His best positions on the grid have been Portugal and France, where he started from sixth. This is a very significant drop in performance, considering that pre-accident he had virtually always started from at least the second row.
Honda’s issues with the new tires and Marc’s numerous accidents
There are several factors that have contributed to this troubling situation, most of them, however, are alien to Marc Márquez himself. Although the Spaniard has not yet regained peak performance or recovered his former confidence on the track, the main culprit is clearly the RC213V. The temperamental and unpredictable machine dismounts, not only Marc Márquez but all pilots that dare to ride it.
The eight-time champion’s teammate, Pol Espargaró, for instance, has fallen off his bike at almost every single race this year. The pilots of the satellite LCR Honda Idemitsu have followed a similar fate. Both Takaaki Nakagami and the youngest of the Márquez’ brothers, Álex, have also contributed to the grand total of 29 accidents that the oriental beast has under its belt so far.
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) May 30, 2021
The bike’s behaviour has been aggravated by its incapacity to acclimatize to the Michelin tires that were introduced in 2020. The arrival of the new compounds has in fact meant a change in the MotoGP hierarchy, which has demoted the Japanese squad to the bottom of the grid. The new tires have now become the single greatest hurdle for the team, which has been unable to marry them to their indomitable machine.
Worst of all, with so many crashes, Marc Márquez hasn’t had a chance to accrue any sizable number of kilometres under his belt during this new era of MotoGP. The Spaniard needs to spend time on the RC213V in order to scrutinise its behaviour and provide the essential feedback that the team of engineers needs to mould the bike into shape.
Images of Marc Márquez: Box Repsol.