MotoGP is once again without Marc Marquez after the Repsol Honda rider withdrew from Portimao’s second event after a training accident.
Initially described as a ‘slight head concussion’ suffered after an off-road training session fall las Saturday, the eight-time World Champion’s absence has been brought into question around the paddock in the run up to round 17.
“I don't know,” Aleix Espargaro commented on Thursday Afternoon. “Sincerely, nobody has any information of this crash. The press release says a concussion but we don't know, maybe he have a broken arm? We have no idea. So we have to believe that it's a concussion.
“So if it's a head concussion I think it's quite hard because if it's not like this, Marc will be here racing for sure. We know him, we know every rider in this paddock, but it's difficult sincerely to judge. Every injury is different. If the crash had been done on the last GP, we'd know the type of crash, and I can have a better judgement but I have no idea so it's difficult to judge. But believe me, that if he's not here racing, I don't know if concussion is the right word I think is something bigger!”
Espargaro’s younger brother, and Marquez’ teammate Pol, was in agreement.
“He knows more than nobody else his situation,” the HRC rider confirmed. “If he choose to stay at home it means that together with the doctors he didn't feel ready to come here and at the end of the day the health is the most important thing in this world, more than MotoGP even.
“Sometimes we took decisions, the wrong decisions to jump on the bike because we love to be here and we love to be MotoGP riders but sometimes you'll need to put your health in the front. So if he's not here it's because he's not ready to ride a MotoGP.
“MotoGP is not an easy thing, you need to be 100%, at least in your mind because we all are going super fast with these bikes. So you need to be ready and feel ready. Hopefully he can be in Valencia 100%. Because he's good help for all of us, for the team, and is a guy that always is going on the limit and in that way it's much easier for all the other riders in Honda to understand how to ride the bike because he's the main guy on the garage. So hopefully his recovery is good and we can see him racing again back in Valencia.”
“I think also what happened to him last year is something that make him a little bit more calm,” recent MotoGP Champion Fabio Quartararo added from the press conference. “I think for sure if he had the possibility to race he will be here but for sure he will need to recover from that crash.”
Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia, however, raised doubts over Marquez returning at all this season.
“Normally when he has this type of problem he raced but maybe he's taking more time to be at 100% because he already is not his 100%,” the Italian commented. “So maybe he wanted to wait a bit more. The only thing is that I also read that also Valencia is in doubt, so this is a strange thing but if they decide to don't race here and maybe in Valencia is because he want to take more care.”