Every generational athlete, no matter the game, never creates a legend that looms larger than the sport itself. Soccer carried on without Pele. Hockey didn’t stop when Wayne Gretzky ceased playing.
The Spanish rider is an eight-time world champion and was again the overwhelming favorite in the MotoGP to add another crown.
MotoGP world champion in each of the previous four years and in seven of the last eight seasons, Marquez signed a four-year contract to stay with the Repsol Honda team prior to the start of the season. The pact will keep him with the team through the 2024 campaign.
The Spaniard was challenging Fabio Quartararo for the lead in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix when he lost control of his bike and crashed hard. Thrown from the bike, Marquez rolled several times before coming to a stop on his knees in the gravel surrounding the outside of the track’s surface.
He was diagnosed with a broken humerus in his right arm. Marquez didn’t finish the race but was adamant that he would compete in the following race, the Andalucia GP. However, the pain was too much to bear and he didn’t start the event.
Marquez, 27, hasn’t raced since and his return in the sport remains uncertain.
Since suffering the injury in the crash, Marquez has required two surgeries to repair the damage done to his arm.
Just two days after the accident, Marquez underwent surgery on the arm at Barcelona’s Dexeus Hospital. The surgeons inserted a titanium plate and several screws to ensure that the fracture would heal properly. The doctors were also able to confirm there was no damage done to the radial nerve as a result of the accident.
However, just 13 days later, a second surgery was performed on the injured arm. In his attempt to race at Jerez in the second event of the season, Marquez had turned 28 laps of the track during practice within days of the original surgery. It was later discovered that the metal plate in his arm had broken due to stress.
“The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient,” Dr. Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery, said in a statement released by the Repsol Honda team. “An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.”
Dr. Mir was quick to assuage any notion that Marquez was in any way to blame for the failure of the metal plate in his arm.
“The rider has not felt pain during this period, he has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body,” Dr. Mir said.
Lately, there’s been speculation that perhaps Marquez may require a third surgery on the arm before he’ll be able to return to riding, an operation that could potentially involve a bone graft.