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After the Portuguese Grand Prix went as seamless as possible for the returning Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), the Spanish Grand Prix didn’t quite have the same ring to it. Two crashes, including a huge one at Jerez’s rapid Turn 7 left-hander, put a slight dampener on the eight-time World Champion’s second race weekend of 2021.
Nevertheless, Marc Marquez gritted his teeth and managed to drag himself and his factory RC213V to another highly commendable top 10 finish. In Portimao, the number 93 finished P7, 13.2s shy of winner Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). At the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, Marquez finished P9, 10.4s away from victor Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team). It’s not the top fives, podiums or wins that Marquez will have been dreaming of, but after nine months on the sidelines, two top 10s on the bounce is a tremendous effort from the Spaniard.
On top of that, a lot has been said in the Jerez aftermath about HRC’s struggles in 2021. Marquez admitted that the bike doesn’t yet feel like his own, with Repsol Honda teammate Pol Espargaro left “disappointed” with the lack of unity across the Honda camp as so many different bikes and setups were being used. We’re going to find out if the Jerez Test – which saw HRC lap with five different aero packages – has been successful for the Japanese giants.
And coming up for Marquez and his MotoGP™ rivals is a trip to northern France and the iconic Le Mans layout. After completing just seven laps at the Jerez Test due to shoulder and arm stiffness, Marquez has had a good week at home between races to rest up, train and continue his recovery ahead of an appointment with a circuit he’s won at four times in the past. Most recently in 2018 and 2019, with 2014 and 2011 (Moto2™) tallied as his other French GP victories.
However, there’s another spanner in the works this weekend: the weather. Forecasts indicate that rain is going to be a looming factor throughout the weekend, so it’s going to be fascinating to see how this affects Marquez.
“It has been a good week between races, I have been able to rest and continue my training and recovery,” said Marquez. “The goal for this weekend is to have less complications and continue working to improve. Step by step we are getting stronger and our goal is to continue the progress we have been making. The weather in Le Mans can always make things a little bit tricky but we will handle whatever happens.”
Tune into MotoGP™ FP1 from Le Mans at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) to see Marc Marquez back on track alongside his competitors for a potentially wet start to Round 5 of 2021.
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