Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) experienced his most encouraging weekend yet at the Bitci Austrian Grand Prix. Despite the Spaniard finishing 15th and only walking away with a solitary point, his performance was stellar. Starting from the second row, the eight-time World Champion fought for victory in a race that was initially dry, before the rain played a decisive role.
"It was my enemy," said the factory Honda man, as his chances of an incredible result in the dry suddenly became more complicated. Then, with two laps to go, all hopes of a podium vanished when he tucked the front of Turn 1.
In the past, the Catalan would probably have left everyone with their mouths open, saving that front-end fold with his elbow. He's done so often we just come to expect it from him now. But since his triple operation on the right humerus, Marquez admits that at this current moment he can no longer boast of the same abilities, as we witnessed earlier in the weekend in FP4.
"This year I cannot save these kind of crashes," started the 93. "As soon as I push with the front, I cannot push with the elbow and I cannot save it. Also, it's related a little bit to the set-up. But then when it goes, it goes. This is something already in the past I used that set-up and already the feeling was the same: stable, smooth but then when you lose the front, I cannot save the crash.
Speaking after his crash on Saturday, Marquez compared it to his Turn 3 crash during Q2 of the Styrian Grand Prix: "Today basically it was a bit similar to the qualy last week. I braked, I had a small movement, I lose the position on the bike. I went in front and gave up a bit. Then I pushed too much the front tyre and I lose the front. But OK, it’s a corner. More than a corner, it’s a moment where I need to be very careful in the race and very smooth to keep the weight behind in all brake points."
It's going to be a waiting game for the 28-year-old as he continues his rehabilitation and acclimatisation to the premier class. Before too long we'll be adding yet more Marquez highlights to the MotoGP™ Greatest Saves compilation but, for now, we might see the front-end of the Spaniard's RC213V folding more often than normal.