With Marc Marquez going back into surgery yesterday, and being held for 48 hours in the hospital afterwards, the Spaniard’s participation in the upcoming Czech GP this weekend was certainly put into doubt.
And now, we know the reality, as Repsol Honda has announced that test rider Stefan Bradl will ride in the factory-backed MotoGP team for the race in Brno in Marquez’s place.
The news is not surprising, especially considering the incredibly tight schedule of races this year for the grand prix paddock, thanks to the late start courtesy of the coronavirus outbreak.
One can only surmise that losing 50 points to Fabio Quarataro from the Jerez rounds certainly played into the decision to err on the side of caution, though missing the Czech GP certainly means that Marc Marquez will not be able to defend is MotoGP Championship from last year.
Tapping Stefan Bradl for the replacement ride makes sense for HRC, and was the expected move from the Repsol Honda team. As the factory test rider, Bradl is positioned best to sit in the factory team and mind the 2020 edition of the Honda RC213V race bikes.
Of note, Stefan Bradl raced four times last year for Honda, with his best finish being a 10th place at the German GP in Sachsenring. Racing in last year’s Czech GP, Bradl finished 15th overall – over 30 seconds behind Marc Marquez, who cruised to an easy victory at Brno.
“First of all I want to wish Marc a speedy recovery, what he did in Jerez was incredible and he showed that he has the true spirit of a champion,” said Stefan Bradl.
“I am looking forward to riding the Honda RC213V again, due to the global pandemic we have not been able to test as we would normally so it will take some time to adjust to the bike and MotoGP again but I have ridden the superbike a few times so I know my fitness is good.”
“It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to, competing with the Repsol Honda Team is always a great honour and I am pleased to help Honda. Let’s see how the weekend goes.”
It is possible that we will see Marc Marquez return to racing action as soon as the Austrian rounds, though the signals from HRC at this point is that they and Marc are making decisions with the 2021 season firmly in mind.
Accordingly, it is possible that the #93 bike might not be in action for the next few races.
Source: Repsol Honda