Defending series champion Marc Marquez won’t race with an injury in Sunday’s second grand prix of the season at Jerez after being cleared with a fractured right arm.
Marquez was injured after crashing with four laps remaining in Sunday’s season opener. He underwent successful surgery Tuesday in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage. He was cleared by MotoGP medical staff upon returning Thursday to the Circuit de Jerez.
But after testing himself on the No. 93 bike during practice Saturday morning, Marc Marquez returned immediately to the garage after making a lap in qualifying Saturday afternoon.
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Marquez said he had at least to take a shot at testing whether he could race Sunday in the Andalucia Grand Prix.
“When you have a passion for something, you try,” he said in an interview after qualifying (watch the video above). “Today I will sleep well because I tried. It wasn’t possible, but what I did was only follow my body. My body said you must try. This was the plan.”
Marquez said he initially felt good on the bike during the morning practice, but his right elbow began acting up late in the session and again as soon as he began in qualifying. He speculated the warm weather might have caused inflammation.
The loss of strength in his arm “becomes dangerous. My body in that moment (said), ‘Stop.’ I promised to Honda if I feel unsafe, I will stop, and that’s what I did.
“I want to say thanks to all doctors, officials, team, we tried, and they put in a lot of hard work.”
Marquez said he intends to race in the Aug. 9 grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic.
“I want to fight for a championship,” he said. “Now the main priority is try to be better for physical condition. I will start working hard in the next hour for Brno. I won’t be 100 percent, but I’ll try to fight on the bike and enjoy my passion on the bike.”
Repsol Honda Team manager Alberto Puig said the team decided it was best for Marquez to stop after it became too painful.
“When you have an injury and the body says that’s it, that’s it,” Puig said (watch the interview below). “Real champions always try, and this is what he did. The courage he showed was unbelievable. We still have 11 races to go and for sure aren’t going to give up. Marc will recover and the team will be there for him.”
Marquez had yet to miss a race in MotoGP’s premier division since entering the series in 2013 and winning six of the past seven championships.
Saturday’s practcie and qualifying sessions at Jerez were eventful for the Honda factory team as Alex Marquez, Marc’s younger brother, crashed during qualifying. Though he was holding his right arm, Alex Marquez avoided serious injury.
In Sunday’s race at Jerez (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN), Fabio Quartararo will start on the pole for the second consecutive week after becoming the first Frenchman in more than 20 years to win in MotoGP’s premier division last week. Maverick Vinales set the fast time, but it was wiped out for exceeding track limits.
Two poles in a row for @FabioQ20! 🔥
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) July 25, 2020