Marc Marquez will miss the start of the 2022 MotoGP season due to his continued recovery from his current injury, according to Honda.
Both the factory team and its satellite team will be represented at the Japanese MotoGP outfit’s online presentation on Friday, January 14 (local time).
Marc Marquez, will not be attending the online presentation, according to Germany’s Speedweek.com, with HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) alerting European media that he will focus “on his rehabilitation and pre-season preparation.”
This means only three riders will participate: Pol Espargaro of the Repsol Honda Team, Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami of LCR.
After his training accident on the last weekend of October, Marquez was unable to compete in the final two rounds of the 2021 season, as well as the post-season test held just days after the Valencia season finale.
The announcement casts even more doubt on whether the six-time premier class champion will be ready for the start of the 2022 season, or even pre-season testing starting early February.
HRC released a statement in December stating that he was progressing “adequately” with the diplopia (double vision) he suffered as a result of the training crash. However, the announcement did not give any MotoGP return date for Marquez despite committing him to continued physical training.
HRC has remained tight-lipped regarding Marquez’s health, but he did take to social media last week to share a photograph that appeared to show him during pre-season training. The MotoGP pre-season test will be happening in Sepang from January 31 to February 2 while the official test will happen on February 5-6.
The Qatar Grand Prix takes place on March 4-6, following another test at Indonesia’s new Mandalika street circuit. If Marquez is unable to compete at that event, he will have missed at least part of the season for the third consecutive year due to injury.
Marquez had a terrifying crash in the 2020 season kick-off in Jerez in July, and his broken arm and bungled recuperation kept him out for the rest of the year, save for a hastily attempted comeback effort the following weekend. Despite his three grand prix victories, the Spaniard’s layoff continued through Round 2 of 2021 at Losail, and he raced at less than full condition thereafter.
Before the incident in an off-road training session that was first believed to have caused “a little head injury,” Marquez had won two races in a row, including one on a clockwise circuit, which was particularly difficult given his compromised physical state. He was diagnosed with “diplopia and… a paralysis of the fourth right nerve” after a further assessment, the same nerve he hurt in a Moto2 crash back in 2011.
Stefan Bradl, a test rider, is an obvious replacement if he misses any more races in 2022. Last year’s season introduction featured Marquez, albeit a stunt double rode the #93 motorcycle for a video that was shown as part of the presentation.
In comments reported previous to the December 22 update, Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig informed the media in his native Spain that the team was “not considering” starting the 2022 season without Marquez.