Marc Marquez warns recovery will be ‘a very long time’ but vows MotoGP return

Marc Marquez hints his 2022 MotoGP season is over after taking the decision to undergo a fourth surgery on the arm he originally broke almost two years ago

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez has been told to expect his recovery from a fourth surgery on his arm will take ‘a very long time’ but vows he will not call time on his MotoGP career.

The six-time MotoGP World Champion confirmed during an extraordinary press conference at the Italian MotoGP in Mugello that he will travel to the United States to undergo a surgery on his right arm almost two years after the accident in Jerez that triggered the issues he is facing today.

Marquez crashed during the closing stages of the 2020 Spanish MotoGP - the COVID-19 delayed season opener - fracturing his arm when it was glanced by the tyre of his Repsol Honda as they came down.

Undergoing his first surgery in the following days, Marquez remarkably attempted a comeback just three days later at the second of the Jerez double-headers, only to withdraw again. He then underwent a second surgery, which would rule him out for the remainder of the season.

However, worse was to follow later in the year after it emerged he was suffering from an infection that was hampering his recovery, necessitating a third surgery in December 2020.

Returning to action during Round 3 of the 2021 MotoGP season in Portimao, despite some gritty performances - including three wins - over the course of the year, Marquez concedes he has been riding in discomfort and is now risking career-ending injury if he doesn’t take action now.

It means he will go under the knife for a fourth time, a proposal put to him by doctors during this year’s Spanish MotoGP. Though Marquez says he has tried everything to avoid having to undergo yet another painful operation and recovery process, he feels he has no choice now.

“It’s true that since I had the first injury with my right arm everything was really complicated, plus the infection was the worst thing. The doctors did an amazing job 18 months ago to take care of that infection and to recover my bone.

"It was a success, but it’s true that since I came back riding the bike I feel big limitations. Even like this I never gave up and kept pushing, working, doing what the doctors' said.

"But I realised this season that I don’t enjoy [riding now]. I’m just suffering a lot. A lot of pain. I don’t have power. I cannot ride like I want. I also start to injure the left shoulder because I’m pushing too much with the left arm.

"My performance is not bad, but it's not the one that I want. So together with the doctors we've been evaluating for a long time - even in October, when I had the first injury with my vision, I said to them ‘why we don't consider to make something in that arm?’. But the bone was not fixed completely then and they said the risk is too big. 

"Then I come back. I work a lot during these four months. But I don't see any improvement. Then I had another meeting after Jerez where we evaluate everything again. And then they start to consider another operation. 

“It’s difficult and I gave all I could to avoid that operation, because to open again the arm is something that I don’t want. But it's the way to recover.”

‘Very long time’ before MotoGP return

While Marquez says he is unsure of how long a recovery process he faces, he admits it will be a ‘very long time’ before he is back on the Repsol Honda, hinting that the surgery could see him out for the remainder of the 2022 MotoGP season.

“The doctors say to me after the surgery, we will go step by step. But it will be a long time of course," Marquez said. "But the time to do it is now, because for me there is no way to ride like this and suffer too much. I'm not enjoying it and every weekend is a nightmare, just to keep pushing.

"Even like this, and riding like this, I know that I can be on the podium in some circuits. But it's not the way that I want to ride because I'm suffering a lot and I am creating another injury. I cannot continue riding like this.

"But my goal is the same, to come back and the way to do things now is just to prepare for 2023. I want to say thanks to Honda because they respect a lot the decision and they support me a lot."

Marquez rules out retirement

While Marquez’s arm injury has been the focal point of his troubles over the past two years, in that time he has also had to contend with the legacy of surgeries on both of his shoulders, plus a recurrence of the diplopia ‘double vision’ affliction that ruled him out of the final two rounds of the 2021 season.

They have conspired to derail a career that was soaring come the end of the 2019 MotoGP season when he strolled to his sixth and most dominant World Championship title in seven years.

Nevertheless, Marquez says he is determined not to let it signal the end of his career, saying he has time to recovery fully and return to the form that has seen him reel off 59 MotoGP wins.

“Always one of my strong points is just to be really strong in the mind. And believe me, if I don't have this character, during this time I would just give up. But if you want something, you need to believe in it, and you need to keep pushing," Marquez said.

"But I know what I have, I know what my limitations are, and I know which are my skills. But now I cannot take profit.

"Doing surgery now in the middle of the season is not the best way of course, but is the best way for my future.

"This is what I believe and is what we will do, because the doctors also say to me ‘please stop and come’."