MotoGP champ Marc Marquez on mental toil of mounting injury woes

Marc Marquez reveals details of the training accident that led to his eye condition, the latest in a string of injuries for the MotoGP champion

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez has for the first time spoken openly about the training accident that has left him with the recurrence of an eye condition and a fourth consecutive winter period spent recuperating from injury.

The Spaniard has endured a troubled two years since securing a dominant sixth MotoGP World Championship in 2019, beginning with a left shoulder injury sustained in a crash during post-season testing at Valencia.

Coming a year after needing surgery on his right shoulder too, though the prolonged break to the delayed 2020 MotoGP opener gave him time to recover, a high-speed crash in Jerez resulted in an arm injury that had far serious consequences, ruling him out of the entire season and forcing him to skip the opening rounds of the 2021 season.

A steady build up of momentum on his return yielded three wins before his season was curtailed two races early due to the eye injury that developed in the wake of an accident while training on an Enduro motorcycle.

Later revealed to be a return of diplopia - a form of blurred double vision - Marquez has been playing the waiting game for the condition to clear up, though did return to training for the first time in three months this week.

Even so, Repsol Honda rider Marquez admits it has been toiling spending so long on the sidelines following his devastating streak of form in the seasons prior to 2020.

"From the mental side, maybe it's been one of the most difficult times of my career. It’s the fourth winter (of recovery from injury). The right shoulder, left shoulder, then arm. With the arm I suffered a lot, but it now looks better. Then arrived another [eye] injury.

"When I won In Austin and Misano I felt well. But in life you never know. You need to always be positive. It’s hard. I don’t wish this feeling on any rider."

“The Doctor said don’t panic…” - Marc Marquez

Marquez has also revealed the circumstances around the injury, which he says flared up in the hours after the original accident.

"The accident was like a normal day, I got up, went out on the enduro bike to a very small circuit close to my town," Marquez began. "I was with Josep Garcia who is the enduro world champion. I have a good relation with him.

"I rode for 20 minutes, then said 'I’ll do 2 more laps before I go'. At that point I crashed in a right corner. I had a kind of a highside and hit my head on the ground. But I got up, rode the bike again and continued on my enduro trip. Then I arrived home and took a shower.

"But after 3 hours I started to feel something strange in the vision, something strange in the head. Straight away I called the doctor and said I have this feeling. He said 'don’t panic. Wait one week, maybe it’s normal'.

"Then after one week we saw the problem is still there. That was when we told all of you [media]. But in the first week we didn’t say [publicly] straight away because it was the advice of the doctor. He said, 'please, calm down, because sometimes in the first week it can fix itself. But if in the first week it doesn’t, then it’s a long time.’”

Will Marc Marquez skip 2022 MotoGP testing?

Marquez’s concerns come from him suffering the same injury in 2011 following a crash in Malaysia while competing for the Moto2 World Championship. 

Unlike then, Marquez hasn’t undergone surgery but it hasn’t been entirely ruled out as pre-season testing and the opening rounds of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship looms.

"Since the first moment of getting injured we took the conservative approach. Step by step. Time will fix everything. 

“And if it doesn’t fix everything then we will need surgery [as in 2011]. But at the moment we won’t need surgery. I hope not to have another one in my eye.

"But during these last 3 months we were also working hard on the shoulder and planning the perfect way. Because although the shoulder and the arm is much better, we need to understand the best way to work during the season to not have the same problems as last year. 

“The irritations, then the pain. Then everything becomes more difficult. We need to prepare all these things.”