Marc Marquez cleared for stunning MotoGP comeback after arm surgery

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SATURDAY UPDATE: Repsol Honda Team announced that Marc Marquez will sit out the second race of the MotoGP season despite being cleared (click to read story)

Just two days after surgery on a fractured right arm, defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has been approved for a stunning comeback in Sunday’s second race of the season (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) after receiving medical clearance, according to the MotoGP site.

Marquez, who was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener, was declared fit to ride in Sunday’s Andalucia Grand Prix in Jerez, Spain. He passed a fitness test Thursday after arriving at the Circuit de Jerez from Barcelona, where he had successful surgery Tuesday. He is planning to miss practice Friday but will test his condition Saturday in hopes of racing Sunday.

Repsol Honda Team manager Alberto Puig said in a Wednesday interview that Marc Marquez had no nerve damage but declined to give a timetable on the eight-time MotoGP champion returning and said the team was prioritizing the rider’s long-term health. During an interview Thursday, Puig expressed surprise about Marquez’s rapid comeback.

WATCH: How to see Marc Marquez’s return and the rest of the 2020 MotoGP season

“Nobody expected to see him here, clearly,” Puig said (watch the interview above). “When the accident happened, we were very worried. Of course, he had to move to Barcelona for surgery.

“And after surgery, the rider started to feel very well. He started to contact us and said I’m feeling very well. I’m not in so much pain. I can move the arm. The nerve situation, as the doctor informed, was OK.”

Puig said the team originally planned to bring back Marquez in two weeks but now “after what we saw of Marc’s wishes, and after the doctor said today that they declared him fit, we came to an understanding that he will try on Saturday, and depending on how he’s feeling, he will try to race (Sunday).”

MotoGP also said that Alex Rins of Team Suzuki Ecstar and Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda also were declared fit to ride. Crutchlow also suffered a fracture during the opening weekend.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.