Marc Marquez returns to MotoGP at Aragon Grand Prix after a 110-day absence

Marquez returns MotoGP Aragon
Steve Wobser / Getty Images
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After completing a successful test at the Misano World Circuit in Italy, Marc Marquez returns to MotoGP action in this week’s Aragon Grand Prix in his native Spain. Marquez has been sidelined since the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, a race in which he finished 10th, due to an arm injury.

At the time, Marquez said at MotoGP.com: “Unfortunately, I have to take a break from the 2022 season that will keep me away from competition for a while. After all these months of intense work with my new medical team in Madrid, my physical condition has improved and I have reduced the discomfort in my right arm to be able to compete at the Grands Prix, but I still have significant limitations in my humerus that does not allow me to ride the bike properly and achieve the goals I have always set for myself.

“It is for this reason, that together with my medical team … and after consulting with specialists from the Mayo Clinic, that I have made the decision to carry out a new operation with the aim of improving my position on the bike that will allow me to ride without the current limitations. Personally, I have the maximum motivation and enthusiasm to continue working and to make the effort to return to compete at the highest level.”

In the two-day test in Misano, Marquez steadily improved from 17th in the first practice session on Tuesday, skipped the afternoon test, but was 10th in the morning session on Wednesday, and seventh that afternoon. Marquez had a gap of 1.2 seconds to the session leader, Fabio Quartararo.

Following the test, Marquez returned home to continue rehabbing his arm. He announced he was cleared to race on Tuesday.

Since earning his sixth MotoGP championship in 2019, Marquez has been plagued by an arm injury that was first sustained in the 2020 season opener at Qatar when he crashed multiple times and eventually made contact with his own tire. At the time, Marquez’s prognosis was day to day.

After missing the opening races of 2021, Marquez returned to the series with the Portuguese GP and finished seventh. That season, he earned three victories in 18 races including a stunner at the Circuit of the Americas when he led all 20 laps. Marquez also stood on the podium in Aragon in this race last year. Despite missing four races, he finished seventh in the standings.

As the arm continued to slow Marquez, he nevertheless showed consistency at the beginning of the season with results ranging from fourth to sixth in his first five starts. His 10th-place finish in the Italian GP gives him a sweep of the top 10 – a streak he hopes to continue with six rounds remaining in the 2022 season.

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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