The 2021 MotoGP season will kick off without six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.
After review by the medical team monitoring his recovery from the broken humerus he suffered at the opening MotoGP round of 2020, the decision has been made to postpone a comeback until after the two Qatar rounds.
Marquez had already been riding on MotoGP tracks, the Spaniard having spent a day on track in Barcelona on board a Honda RC213V-S street bike, followed by another day at the Portimão circuit in Portugal.
Despite good progress being made, and the positive response his arm had shown to Marquez stepping up his training program, the medical team felt it was better to advise Marquez to skip the first two races to give his arm more time to heal, and for the bone density in his humerus to further improve and gain strength.
The next medical check for Marquez is scheduled for April 12th, in the week before the Portuguese round of MotoGP. That implies that Marquez will also miss the second round in Qatar, set for April 4th, but opens the door for a return in Portugal.
During the Repsol Honda team launch, Marquez had stated quite clearly that he would listen to his doctors and follow their advice.
There were question marks over this, however as the Spaniard had already flown out to Qatar to get vaccinated, and made an appearance in the hotel gym to show the other riders present that he was serious about a return.
The question was, if Marquez was already in Qatar, would he be able to resist the temptation to jump on a MotoGP bike proper and give it a go.
With this announcement, Marquez has shown he is sticking to the pre-agreed plan.
No doubt he has learned the lessons of his attempted early return at the Andalusian round, just a few days after breaking his arm and then having it plated again, which went so horribly wrong and saw him end up with an infection on the bone and a severely weakened humerus, and forced to miss the entire 2020 season.
That will likely make him all the more determined once he does return, and more likely to be at full strength.
Source: Repsol Honda