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.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.