‘No regrets, Marquez and Honda two steps ahead of everyone else’

Marc Marquez and Honda proved they are 'two steps ahead' of its rivals at Jerez despite his potentially title-surrendering crash, according to Alberto Puig

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda [1200]

Marc Marquez’s startlingly rapid surge up the order during the Spanish MotoGP shows he is growing the margin between himself and his rivals with every year according to HRC boss Alberto Puig, even if on this occasion it did end with him nursing a potentially title-scuppering arm injury.

Marquez endured a tumultuous 2020 MotoGP season opener when a mistake running off the track at Turn 3 early on in the race dropped him from first down to last position.

What followed was an extraordinary fight back as Marquez scythed his way back into contention, lapping more than a second faster than those ahead of him. 

However, having worked his way up to third position and onto the tail of Maverick Vinales – whom he was fighting when ran off 17 laps earlier – he spectacularly high-sided out of the race, picking up a fracture of the humerus that will be operated on today [Tuesday].

Despite the bruising outcome, Puig says rivals should take heed of Marquez’s huge advantage in terms of race pace and what he is ultimately capable of.

"The strategy was to make a good start when the lights went out and try to go on to lead the race from the front,” Puig said. “This is what was happening until Marc had a moment and had to run off track early in the race.

"When Marc ran off track it took him two laps to get his concentration back again. But we saw he was going to catch the riders ahead. If there were 4 or 5 more laps he could have caught [race winner] Quartararo as Marc was a second a lap faster.

"We know what type of rider we have. Today, once again, he showed who he is to everyone."

"Now he is unfortunately injured, and he has to take rest, try to fix his arm and when he is ready, he will return to fight for victory again. These things happen when you are Marc Marquez, he does exceptional things. There is nothing for him to regret, only to show once again that all our team has tremendous respect and admiration for what he does."

Is Marc Marquez’s 2020 MotoGP title bid over?

It’s almost certain Marquez will miss this weekend’s Andalusian MotoGP re-run at Jerez this weekend, putting him up to 50 points adrift of the title fight.

However, such was his advantage in last year’s series – 151 points over 19 events – that it’s plausible he can make up the margin again in 11 rounds. 

However, it’s unclear just how serious the fracture is and while Marquez (and other MotoGP riders) have shown superhuman abilities to overcome all manner of injuries quicker than us mere mortals, the concentrated nature of this year’s short season might just be a stretch too far.

While time may not be on his side on this occasion, what’s clear is how much performance he has in reserve over his rivals in race conditions which even in his absence will be causing headaches up and down the pit-lane.

While the fabled ‘red mist’ might go some way to explain the huge disparity in performance between himself and his rivals on Sunday - one that he pushed just a little too close to the limit - it did demonstrate exactly what the Spaniard can potentially do when he has to, as Puig explains:

"In Qatar [test] some people [had] doubts about Marc’s performance. Today it’s more than clear that there is no question mark about this. His package, Honda RC213V and himself, are clearly two steps ahead.

"He was not just a bit quicker, he was much faster than anyone else. And the difference; like it or not, is still growing year after year."