After missing fifteen races due to a broken right humerus, Marc Marquez returned to finish a valiant seventh in the Portuguese MotoGP.
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On 18th April, six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez made his return to the track after he suffered a nasty injury in the latter stages of the 2020 Spanish MotoGP. The Spaniard broke his right humerus and had to go through surgery to have a plate fitted in the bone. Marquez wanted to return to the competitive field as fast as he could & made a shock return just a few days after his operation took place to take part in the Andalusian GP. Marquez ultimately broke the metal plate inside his body though, which resulted in a second operation on his right arm. That was the last time we saw Marquez race in 2020 and Stefan Bradl replaced him as the Honda works rider. Months later, Marquez had to undergo a third operation because the healing was taking more time than usual. He then flew to Madrid for further consultation and he went through an eleven-hour surgery on his arm. The surgery was quite disturbing as a bone was taken from his hip and was crafted onto the humerus of his right arm alongside a new plate.
After multiple surgeries, the Spaniard was finally cleared to race in the 2021 Portuguese MotoGP, 256 days since the former World Champion took part in a full race distance. He made a stunning return after he finished third in the opening practice session, crossing the line +00.251 seconds slower than Vinales, who finished quickest. FP2 saw the Spaniard drop by three spots, finishing sixth with a time +0.437 seconds slower than Ducati’s Bagnaia. FP3 saw him drop to P15 with clear signs of muscle fatigue. Marquez knew what he was in for and even stated that the weekend was only going to get tougher for him with every session. The mercurial rider proved how special a character he is in the qualifying session though, finishing P6, only missing out on the front row of the grid by +00.259 seconds. Considering that the Honda rider is not back to full fitness, many thought a top ten finish over full race distance would be a struggle. Marquez however had other plans and climbed into P4 going into the first corner and held his place there for a while. He did fall down the pecking order a little but did brilliantly enough to cross the line in 7th position to put an exclamation mark to an exceptionally hard return to MotoGP. Finishing seventh earned the rider his first points (9 points) in the Championship, leaving him fourteenth as things stand. As soon as he parked his bike and stepped into his pit garage, a visibly moved Marquez received a round of applause from his Honda team and plenty of hugs from his team and his father too.
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After staying out of the sport for nine months, Marquez couldn’t hold back his emotions after he finished the race, given what his mind and body had just endured. When asked about his take on the race, the six-time world champions said, “The hardest thing was the first laps, I was not in my place. I didn’t have the control of the bike, everybody started to overtake me. I cooled down, found my place and as soon as I found my place I started my race. But the most important thing was to finish the race. Then if we check, to finish the race thirteen seconds behind Quartararo, this is something that is incredible.”
Fabio Quartararo clinched the win in fine fashion for Yamaha ahead of Pecco Bagnaia for Ducati and defending MotoGP champion Joan Mir for Suzuki, making it three different manufacturers on the podium after another great MotoGP tussle at the top!
[Image Credit: Marc Márquez]