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9 days ago
By motogp.com

Marc Marquez returns: "He will be even stronger than before"

Some well-known racing names have had their say on the eight-time World Champion’s comeback in Portugal

It’s been nine months since we last saw Repsol Honda Team’s famous number 93 doing what he does best: wringing a MotoGP™ bike around a track at speeds unbeknown to most. It’s been a tough, lengthy lay-off for Marc Marquez since his July 2020 Spanish Grand Prix crash but six days before action begins at the Grande Prémio 888 de Portugal, the eight-time World Champion and his team confirmed he’ll be back.

And in the wake of the news, some well-known names had their say on Marc Marquez’s comeback. One of them is Pramac Racing Team Manager Francesco Guidotti. Speaking to moto.it, the Italian has no doubts that Marc Marquez will be strong at the Portuguese GP and going forward in 2021, stating he’s one of the favourites for the title despite missing the Qatar and Doha GPs.

“Marc Marquez will be strong immediately, I don't see any contraindications, not even psychological ones,” began Guidotti, whose rider – Johann Zarco – currently occupies top spot in the World Championship, 40 points ahead of Marc Marquez. “Perhaps he will be a little more careful not to slip, as falling immediately could be difficult to manage.

“But it is not true that it is the first time that he risks his career: it had already happened to him in 2011, when he lost his sight after banging his head and even when he was in 125 he broke his arm. And now, compared to then, I think he is even stronger psychologically.

 

“So I don't see why he shouldn't go back to the old Marc. The World Championship? Possible, he is one of the favourites: in 2019 he won the title by scoring double the points of third in the standings. So, for him, recovering 40 points is not a big problem. The opponents are waiting for him with the desire to beat him on the track, but also with the fear of not succeeding.”

The man who took the reigns of Marc Marquez’s machine while the Spaniard was on the sidelines is Stefan Bradl, and he too has reacted to the news. Marc Marquez’s return, of course, means Bradl won’t be racing. It’s a shame in one sense for Bradl, who has been magnificent filling in for the eight-time World Champion, but the HRC test rider is more than happy to see his stablemate back in action.

“I don't know if he will be able to win the title, it is impossible to speak of that now. But he's not back to be in the middle of the pack, I'm sure of that,” said Bradl to German publication Speedweek. “If Marquez finishes on the podium in Portugal, I would not be surprised. It would not seem extraordinary to me.

"Marquez is a professional from head to toe and has a completely new challenge for him. He will have thought a lot in these months about his return, he has planned it in detail and learned from mistakes. You do not have to wait for him to get his first podium or his first victory, it is irrelevant. The main thing is that he is back in shape and competitive, little by little he will regain his momentum. I think that after Portugal he will be in a position to set goals.

“We have waited for this for months,” continues Bradl, as he and the whole of Honda eagerly await to see what Marc Marquez has to say about the 2021 RC213V. “HRC wants Marc's reference. For us his criteria is very important, see how he is doing with the bike, what problems he has and what he has to say about it. After the Jerez tests (Monday to Wednesday) I will go to Portimao on Thursday and listen very carefully to his opinions.”

 

MotoGP™ doctor Claudio Costa also spoke to moto.it and is confident that Marc Marquez will be even stronger than before. As a man who has worked all his life to try and get riders back on track as soon as possible, Costa is over the moon to see Marquez back. 

“It is a great happiness for me, I am in love with this rider. But it is happiness for all of motorcycling that needs a protagonist of this level. I am happy that the doctors have worked well: in December, a situation had arisen. Problematic with a bone infection and the plate. They solved it well and the six-month prognosis could also be reduced, as it did, although not by much. But if he races in Portugal, that's very good news: congratulations to the doctors who treated him.”

The question on everyone’s lips is how will Marc Marquez perform in Portugal? It’s a question no one has the answer to at this stage, but Costa thinks the Spaniard will take great strength from his injury – both mentally and physically.

“The first answer would be: I can imagine him going well. But if Marquez is injured, in the sense that he has the traces of an adventure, a sports drama of this kind on him, then I imagine him even stronger, because from this wound he will find the unexpected, unknown energies that can give you even more energy… He is psychologically strong. This wound lasting months, almost a year, is the wound of hero: psychologically he will have the strength of the hero.”

It’s going to be fascinating to see how Marc Marquez gets on in Portimao. He was absent from 2020’s Portuguese GP for obvious reasons, but he’s tested at the Algarve International Circuit on Honda’s road-going RC213V-S recently, so the rollercoaster won’t be totally alien to the number 93. We’ll soon find out if Guidotti, Bradl, Costa and many others are right in thinking we’re going to see the same Marc Marquez as before – let’s hope we do.

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