Fans of six-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez have been cautiously optimistic about his 2021 season hopes. Would he be on the starting grid at the season opener in Qatar on March 28? That was a major question, and the roar of anticipation only grew louder as he mounted up on his Honda RC213V-S on March 16. 

Despite the promising images Márquez posted on his Instagram, it wasn’t to be. By March 22, 2021, the Box Repsol team officially announced that he'll unfortunately be sitting out of the Qatar race weekend. While it generally appears that professional racers heal up and get back to normal routines more quickly than most people, there’s still such a thing as doing it too fast. That is, after all, one of the widely agreed-upon reasons that Márquez ended up off his bike for this long.  

It’s a mistake that both the man and his medical team are clearly not eager to repeat. That’s why MM93’s team of doctors all “consider it prudent and necessary not to accelerate Márquez’s return to the track after such an inactive time, and to avoid putting the humerus at risk in intense competition.” They further advise that the champ will undergo his next medical check for competition fitness on Monday, April 12.  

“After the last review with the medical team, the doctors have advised me that the most prudent thing was not to take part in the Qatar Grand Prix and to continue with the recovery plan that we have followed in recent weeks. I would have loved to be able to participate in the opening race of the World Championship, but we will have to continue working to be able to recover the optimal conditions that allow us to return to competition,” Márquez said in a statement. 

Repsol Honda test rider and 2011 Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl will race in place of Márquez for the 2021 Qatar MotoGP season opener. This doesn’t come as any particularly great surprise, since Bradl has been subbing for Márquez since the 2020 Czech GP on August 9. Here’s hoping for good health and a well-timed return to racing in the not-too-distant future for the six-time world champion. 

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