There’s no reassuring news from Spain about Marc Marquez. The champion is still hospitalized at the Ruber hospital in Madrid where he underwent surgery and is struggling with an infection in his right arm, which the doctors discovered during the third and last surgery he underwent (read HERE). The Spanish website, Motosan, reported it after directly receiving the news from Honda, which is expected to release a press release shortly to officially update Marc Marquez’s current health conditions.
They’re hoping to ward off a fourth operation and, obviously, the more serious scenarios proposed by someone regarding the hypothesis of an ostemielitis of the humerus are also frightening (read Doctor Costa's opinion HERE). A situation that could become dramatic for Marquez’s career. On the other hand, we all saw HRC’s presentation of their sports programs for 2021, which were organized well before his third operation, and during which the Spanish rider reassured all his fans (read HERE), confirming that he would be present at the start of the 2021 season.
Honda hasn’t yet taken any steps to approach other riders, and it’s obvious that Dovizioso’s name regularly pops up as a plausible replacement for Marc, should the champion not be able to ride his RCV 213 for most of the season. Actually, a rush to define a program to replace Marquez doesn’t exist, since the Sepang tests (or Jerez, if the Malaysian ones are cancelled ) are expected at the end of February and, at the moment, the number one candidate has no alternative to take over that bike. Honda has, in any case, renewed with Stefan Bradl for the role of test rider and, in the final phase of 2020, the German rider has returned to express himself on more than acceptable levels. Then there’s the arrival of Pol Espargarò in HRC, and the former KTM rider is currently called to the role of spearhead for Tokyo in the MotoGP for 2021.
Marquez case: many mistakes on all levels and Honda risks losing a lot
The only certainty in this whole situation is that Marquez’s case has unfortunately been handled badly. Major or minor errors were made by the entire entourage and by the doctors who operated on Marc during his first surgery in July, when they then gave him the okay to get back on the track immediately. Our Paolo Scalera highlighted in his editorial (read HERE) the long series of mistakes that were made, and it’s clear that, at this point, even Honda may decide to hard tackle the situation and try to safeguard what represents a true company asset.
At the beginning of 2020, Marquez had signed a four-year contract that keeps him tied to HRC until the end of 2024. Figures were never disclosed, but after our chat with Gigi Dall’Igna (read HERE), it seems clear that these are rather high, perhaps even higher than those put on the table by Ducati for Jorge Lorenzo, who received 25 million Euros for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In fact, over the five years in which Honda should have “enjoyed” its investment, the first has already completely passed without any advantage, but rather with many problems, risking to ruin the second year of that contract, further reducing the value of the asset mentioned above, and enormously increasing the incidence of costs in relation to the results obtained.
Now we’re looking forward to some official news from Honda that, in all these months, has chosen the path of silence rather than a crystalline communication regarding Marquez’s actual conditions. This wasn't been the case in the past.