Marc Marquez has revealed why he has been forced to sit out a third round of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship in succession after being warned another crash while recovering could end his career.
The Spaniard hasn’t been seen on track since the opening round of the season in Portimao when - after qualifying on pole and scoring a podium in the Sprint Race - he triggered a collision that eliminated himself and Miguel Oliveira.
Holding his hands up to take responsibility for the incident, Marquez has also paid a heavy price physically after suffering a fracture to his right metacarpal (thumb).
Though it is a relatively minor injury compared with the arm and shoulder issues that have plagued him since the 2020 MotoGP opener in Jerez, it required surgery in the immediate aftermath and has failed to heal as hoped.
Indeed, while Marquez was expecting to be back on track for his home round he instead found himself briefing journalists, telling them there is a concern that another crash or simply putting pressure on it could do permanent damage to his hand so as to necessitate the end of his racing career.
“Unfortunately, I tried to recover in four weeks, but honestly speaking the doctors from the beginning said it would be between 6-8 weeks,” Marquez told the media, including Crash.net.
“But I was very optimistic and tried everything I could to be quicker in the rehabilitation and to ride here in the Spanish Grand Prix.
“By unanimous decision, they said it was a very, very high risk to destroy the surgery. So for that reason, I decided to not race here.”
“The main risk was not crashing, but just from the pressure of the handlebar 'you will destroy or you will damage again [the bone]'. Especially because it's a very small crack, but it's a crack that [affects] the stability to the [thumb] and this is one of the most important fingers when you brake.
“The problem is that if I reinjure again, their advice to me was that there will be a big damage. Not only for three months more, but also for my career. Because now they were able to fix [the fracture] in a very good way. They did a very good surgery.
“But if I reinjured then maybe it can be the end of my career because it's a very important finger.
“So for that reason, it was an easy decision. When three medical teams say to you that you will get injured again if you ride, it's an easy decision. Whether you are 30 years old, 20 or 15. You cannot be against the doctors. They are the professional ones.”
This is just the latest injury to befall Marquez since his career-changing arm injury in Spain less than three years ago with a combination of an arm break, shoulder surgeries, a bout of diplopia and now his fractured hand meaning he has started just 28 of the last 58 Grands Prix.