Despite his injury clearance, Marc Marquez won’t race MotoGP Sunday

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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.

MOTOGP ON NBC: How to watch the 2020 season

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.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”