We look back at how the eight-time World Champion’s weekend unfolded, as Puig reveals the #93 is back to his pre-injury self
At the 1000th Grand Prix, it was only fitting that we welcomed eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) back into the MotoGP™ fold. And what a return to competing it was. Here’s a recap of Marquez’s impressive first weekend on his RC213V since the opening round in Portugal.
Friday: Two crashes, straight into Q2
Marquez described his Friday morning crash as “one I need to avoid”, while his P2 crash when pushing for a quick time was “acceptable”. Despite the two falls, the #93 gained automatic promotion to Q2, acting as the only Honda rider to do so.
Saturday: Narrowly misses out on pole, P5 Tissot Sprint effort
If it wasn’t for a brilliant late lap from reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Marquez would have started from pole position for the second time this season. However, a P2 grid slot for the Sprint and GP race was mightily impressive.
Then came the Tissot Sprint. After playing a little bit of cat and mouse in P2, Bagnaia vs Marquez lit up Saturday afternoon’s showstopper. “This is the way I like to race” was the headline after the two put on a hard-fought display, with Marquez eventually picking up a P5.
Sunday: Late heartbreak in the podium fight
The first half of Sunday’s Grand Prix race was as dramatic as it gets. Marquez managed to avoid any mishaps though and with Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) running away at the front, a magnificent podium battle unfolded between Marquez and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – with home hero Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) lurking not too far behind.
In the end, Marquez’s weekend would end with a Turn 7 crash on the penultimate lap. However, there were no regrets for an upbeat Marquez, while Repsol Honda Team Manager Alberto Puig also sang the praises of his rider in his post-GP blog.
“Marc did a fantastic race. Unfortunately, at the end of the race he was chasing a podium and knew that Zarco was just behind him and ready to push so Marc needed to keep fighting. The character of a Champion is to try and always take the maximum from any situation, which is exactly what Marc did.
“I think Marc is now riding at the same level as before his injury three years ago. He rode superbly and did the best with what he had.” It’s this sentence here that will be music to the ears of many. The Marc Marquez of old is back, and Le Mans was just a taster of what’s to come for the rest of 2023.