Marc Márquez on MotoGP and his remarkable injury comeback 3 months ago

Marc Márquez on MotoGP and his remarkable injury comeback

It took Marc 581 days to get back on the podium after his injury, now he's a man on a mission to get back to his usual winnings ways

Ahead of today's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, we got the opportunity to speak to the eight-time world champion and six-time MotoGP champ, Marc Márquez.

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Marc has had an unbelievable comeback after a career-threatening injury back at the start of last year which put him out for the entire season. Three surgeries and still a few spills later, the strength is returning to that right arm and we're starting to see the Marc Márquez of old - a force to be reckoned with.

How much are you looking forward to the British GP?

Haha, interesting question. I mean, of course, I cannot give you a real goal but the motivation is high, so is my confidence; every time feels better and better, so let's see. [Friday] will be easier to answer this question but we will try to fight for the top six/five - it will be a great weekend if we can achieve this.

So, this season has already got off to an eventful start with 6 different winners in 11 races - yourself included - how are you enjoying your return to MotoGP?

Yeah, of course, being back in MotoGP after one year completely off with a big injury was tough in the beginning, because also the opponents improved, the manufacturers improved, and everything becomes more difficult. I expected to have an easier recovery but it was quite difficult and I still have some pain, but we are closer and coming back to the normal standard level, so the main goal from not until the end of the season is to try and be more regular in the top positions.

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It’s been some story watching your comeback from that career-threatening injury back in Jerez - having your season cut short, three surgeries and going from not being able to lift a water bottle all the way to being back on the podium after 581 days - how has it been getting back on the bike and how is your recovery going?

Yeah, it was a difficult year. Even when I came back this year it was difficult because, as I say, I expected to have an easier recovery (or at least a faster one) but in terms of my physical condition, I still have some ups and downs.

We are trying to understand why but even still, I was able to win one race - I just went all in and even in Austria, I was up there fighting with the top guys but, unfortunately, the rain came, I made a mistake and crashed but step by step, I feel closer to the top guys and it's a transition year - we're trying to prepare for 2022 in a good way.

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You’ve obviously come off a couple of times this year already, Austria being the most recent - it’s clear you’re still building the strength back up that right arm - how far away do you feel you are from being back to 100%?

Honestly speaking, I don't know, I don't know where I am. Some days I would say 90%, some days I would say 50%. The pain changing during the days - for example, today I feel perfect - [Friday] I will feel ok, but then maybe after Friday, Saturday and the on Sunday, obviously the most important race time, there'll be some pain and then there'll be a drop in power, the muscle. But, every weekend those changes are getting smaller now and we are trying to find some stability.

Talk us through what it’s like in those moments: what goes through your head during those crashes, how do you prepare for the impact and how do you overcome the mental obstacle of taking a fall - especially following the injury?

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This is a question many people ask me: 'you're so used to crashing, how do you do it and how do you come back?' In the end, it's just our instinct and, of course, if you fall down you try to protect your arms and your shoulders - especially in my case because that's where I've had most injuries: I've had surgeries in both shoulders and also the right arm.

You try to protect yourself well but as soon as you hit the gravel you are already thinking about getting back on the bike again, to push again - it's just our natural instinct.

Putting the injury behind us, how nice has it been watching your brother grow into the premier class career as well? That debut podium in the wet was quite something, wasn’t it?

Yeah, Alex had a great debut: for a rookie rider to finish two times on the podium, it was really important for him. Unluckily, he was my teammate but I could not share it with him after getting injured in that first race but he had an incredible year.

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Marc and Alex were Repsol Honda teammates at the start of the season when Marc got injured

Of course, this year he is struggling more but it's always a consequence: all the other riders understand that. We are working with the engineers to improve the bike because this year it looks like the other manufacturers took a step forward - we stayed there but, in the end, we need something more if we want to fight for podiums and victories next season.

Following on from that, we saw you and Alex walking around the Etihad Campus, meeting the players and whatnot - I know you’re a big Barca fan but are City now your second team, or was it just nice to speak with Pep?

Yeah, I'm a big fan of Barca but I'm also a fan of Pep Guardiola. I like his style, I like his philosophy; I like the way he speaks. I met him once before around 2011, I think, but this time was different because I had the time to have lunch with him, have a nice talk and share some experience.

I listened a lot and learned a lot and it was really nice to see how they train and how they approach the big match they had this weekend [Arsenal], so it was interesting and big respect to all of them.

I read that you quite fancied being a footballer back in the day - is that something you ever considered? Perhaps a safer option than racing around at 200mph or was it always going to be motorsports for you?

Haha, yeah. It's true, I liked football and I am a fan of football, but when I was eight years old my father said you have to choose bikes or soccer because races were on the weekend - the Sunday - and the match would have been on the weekend too, but I chose motorbikes and I think chose the correct the way. But yes, I'm a big fan of football and I play a lot with my friends and it's another sport I like.

And lastly, I obviously couldn’t speak to you without asking about Valentino Rossi and his announcement that he’ll be retiring at the end of the season; just how big an impact has he had on your career and how much is the sport going to miss him?

Yeah, I mean, as you know, I don't have the best relationship with Valentino now but I respect him a lot and I've learned a lot of things from him, like other riders; his style and he was one of the reference points when I was a kid. I feel lucky that I was able to compete against him, follow him many laps and learn many things about him.

MotoGP will miss Valentino, of course - he's the biggest one and moved more people - but the sport continues and yeah, big respect to his career. He's unique and had a unique career.

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