“Marc Marquez would have won MotoGP title in 2020 and 2021” - Puig

Marc Marquez was denied a 'certain' seventh and eighth MotoGP World Championship title by his injuries, according to Repsol Honda boss Alberto Puig

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez would have ‘clearly’ won his seventh and eighth MotoGP World Championship in 2020 and 2021 but for his shoulder injury, according to the opinion of his HRC boss Alberto Puig.

The Spaniard had been the dominant force in MotoGP since his debut in 2014, winning all but one title in the ensuing years up to the end of 2019.

However, his hopes of surpassing Valentino Rossi’s seven premier class GP titles were derailed at the start of 2020 with an accident that injured his shoulder and ruled him out of action until 2021.

In that time a fresh generation of riders have swooped him to fill his shoes with Suzuki’s Joan Mir clinching the MotoGP title in his absence in 2020, while Fabio Quartararo won for Yamaha in 2021 as Marquez was getting back to full fitness.

Ahead of 2022, Marquez - whose winter preparations have been hampered by an eye injury - remains something of an unknown in terms of fitness and form on the significantly different Honda RC213V evolution, which hasn’t been developed around his discernible skills on the bike.

The man himself says he is a different rider to that of 2019, but three wins in 2021 were indicative that Marquez is on the cusp of returning to the performance that made him so devastating for so long.

Indeed, his HRC team boss Puig is in no doubt Marquez’s hopes of smashing MotoGP records has been greatly hampered by his injury time out and fully believes he’d have had the measure of his rivals were he not sidelined.

“His career in Honda has been massively successful and it has only been truncated, or shall we say ‘frozen’ in the last two years due to his injury. 

“I have to say - and I say it because I work at Honda - but I clearly believe if he didn’t have this problem with the shoulder, he would have won the last two years, clearly in my opinion. 

“When you check his career in Honda, the relationship and this company, it has been very successful and from my point of view, since we started working with him I can only say that it is really easy. Even in the tough times.”

Marc Marquez vs The New MotoGP Generation

In much the same way we had grown accustomed to Marquez being able to win everywhere, we’ve now gotten used to seeing the Spaniard battling hard to rediscover that edge that made him so successful all those years.

Forced to sit out 2020 and taking time to fine tune his form in 2021, in that time his rivals were allowed some space to cultivate their own skills leading to 2022 where Marquez - for the first time - starts on level pegging with a new set of rivals.

It makes for an interesting set piece for the year ahead - are the likes of Fabio Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia good enough to rival a Marquez of 2019, or will their success versus the Honda rider be explained away by the Spaniard not being the rider of 2019?

Or is it a notion not worth pandering to? Shoulda, woulda, coulda after all, the modern Marquez story may be riddled with ifs and buts, but fact is he did crash, he did get injured and this is where we are… time to look forward, not at what might have been.