In 2020, Marc Marquez made an ill-fated return to the Andalusian Grand Prix. Less than one week after fracturing his right humerus in a violent high-side crash at the 2020 Spanish GP, number 93 rushed back to Circuito de Ángel Nieto in Jerez, Spain. The decision ultimately reaggravated his injury, sending his health and recovery into a tailspin for the remainder of the season.
Since then, the six-time MotoGP champ has learned to push neither his luck nor his body, adopting for a comprehensive rehabilitation process with subsequent injuries. During a crash at the season-opening Portuguese Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda rider sustained a fractured right hand. As a result, Marquez bowed out of the Argentinian GP and the Grand Prix of the Americas. As MotoGP heads back to the Jerez circuit for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix, Marquez is wisely erring on the side of caution.
“Yesterday we did another CT [scan], and it has been confirmed that, despite the fact that the injury is progressing favorably, the bone has not yet finished healing, and racing in Jerez was risky,” Marquez admitted. “Together with the medical team, we decided not to take any risks, to wait two more weeks and return in Le Mans.”
In the meantime, former Tech3 KTM rider and current Superbike World Championship (WSBK) Team HRC rider Iker Lecuona will fill in for the injured eight-time world titleholder. The Spanish rider debuted in WSBK last year, finishing the season ninth in the rider standings. Unfortunately, he’s slipped down to 13th place in the 2023 standings after failing to score any points in the third round of the season at Assen (Netherlands). While the 23-year-old is seizing the moment, he keeps his expectations in check.
“For me, of course, it’s an incredible opportunity to return to MotoGP and ride with the team of my dreams. Doing it in front of the Spanish crowd is extra special,” Lecuona acknowledged. “But we have to be realistic, it will be a very tough and demanding weekend. I have spent this year and last year fully focused on WorldSBK with Team HRC and now I need to get used to everything that is different in MotoGP as well as learn a brand-new bike – the Honda RC213V.”
Regardless, it’s encouraging to see Marquez prioritizing his health and Lecuona getting another crack at MotoGP.