Injured MotoGP champion Marc Marquez's hopes of pulling off a miraculous early comeback came to a sudden end during Saturday's final practice for the Andalucia Grand Prix.

That was when the Repsol Honda star felt "something change, immediately" with his broken right arm, fractured at the same track six days ago and plated just four days earlier.

Marquez gave it one last try at the start of Qualifying 1, but when the same sensation continued he parked his RC213V without completing a flying lap and withdrew from the event.

"What I did during all the week was to follow my instinct and listen to my body and try to follow my body," Marquez began.

"On Monday I would have said impossible to race in Jerez but then on Tuesday Dr Mir did a good job [with surgery to plate the fracture] and on Wednesday I was able to do some push-ups and be in Cervera in my town and put on a leather suit and be on a bike.

"Then I said 'it’s possible'. I started to speak with Honda and the team, they wanted to save me but we made a deal that I would try on Saturday and be really honest. It’s what I did.

"On Thursday the medical check was really tough. Just now I said thanks to Dr Charte because he was pushing me a lot with the push-ups and everything; the power was there and the muscle was working good."

After sitting out Friday, Marquez was 19th (+1.298s) fastest on his return in Saturday morning's FP3, then up to 16th (+0.999s) in FP4.

"In the morning I felt really good and was able to ride in '37.7 with the used tyre, pretty much the same time as last week," Marquez said. "But then in the afternoon when I started to feel really good and ride in the same way I stopped in the box and when I started again something changed. Immediately.

"It was like inflammation or something. The arm got a little bit bigger and maybe pressed some nerve. I was losing the power on the second run in some corners I did not expect.

"At that point you need to be honest with your body and understand the situation and that’s what I did.

"I stopped in the box and said straightaway to the team what’s going on and that I would go to Q1 and in the first lap, if I feel a little bit this feeling or something similar, I will give up. This is what I did.

"The mind does a lot. When I said to myself 'I can’t [continue]' the pain multiplied 2-3 times! But the mind also has to know the body very well and know the limits of suffering and how far you can go.

"The body also has nerves, and I have experience of this already from pre-season. When mentally you can, but physically you cannot – and you might put yourself in danger – then that’s when you have to know your time is up.

"I kept this with me and kept being realistic. If I didn’t believe it was possible to ride then I would have stayed home, with air conditioning and my physio instead of making life complicated.

"So this is not what I expected, but I want to say thanks to all the doctors and the team and the physios because they gave me the chance to follow my passion and my instincts. 

"Tonight I will sleep well because I tried and it wasn’t possible and Brno [August 7-9] will be another race."

Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig added: "Marc is very strong. He wanted to try and we wanted to give him the opportunity to do it, we have supported him at all times and I think we have made the right decision at all times. A champion cannot stay at home if he thinks he has the option or a slight chance. Now he has a lot of inflammation, but it will pass. There are many races ahead and the goal is to arrive in Brno in the best way."

But what will two non-scores mean for his hopes of a seventh MotoGP title during the shortened 2020 season?

"The main priority now is my arm and to try and get well as soon as possible and to ride the bike again as I want," Marquez replied. "I know in Brno I will not be 100% but in Red Bull Ring you never know.

"It’s my right arm and all the circuits go to the right. So that is the first goal, the second is the championship and there are still many races to go. This is racing, this is competition and this can happen.

"I am here because I never give up and I will never give up if there is a chance."

Marquez's season was thrown into turmoil when he was launched from his Repsol Honda in the closing stages of last Sunday's season-opener, at the same Jerez circuit.

A big save while leading had dropped Marquez to 19th early on, but he fought all the way through to third when disaster struck in the form of a huge highside at Turn 3.

"After the big save it was a strange race but I was really enjoying it and felt really good," Marquez said. "The mistake happened when I said ‘OK, the job is done’. I arrived there [3rd] and was already behind Viñales. The job was done, I will just follow him and overtake in the end. It is then that I fly.

"In that corner, the only difference was that every lap I was cutting the kerb on the inside and that lap I didn’t cut the kerb, I touched the white line and suddenly both wheels – the rear and the front – give up and, yeah, it’s a mistake because I crashed but it can happen in racing and you must learn."

Some, including Puig, have caused controversy by claiming a title victory for his opponents would be devalued if the #93 misses races.

"If you are a champion then it is because you did something better than the others," Marquez said. "Of course you like to fight and win a championship with all of your opponents on the track, but if someone gets injured then it’s not your fault. The value is the same.

"Whoever wins this year deserves it. They will have more points than the others and have earned it."

Fabio Quartararo (25 points), Maverick Vinales (20 points) and Andrea Dovizioso (16 points) form the early championship top three after last weekend's event.

"At this moment Marc is the fastest so to have two zeroes from him for the competitors is better. I think he did something crazy to try in this situation, but he was smart to understand it was a bit too much. I hear from him he didn’t have 100 percent control in the last exit," said Dovizioso, title runner-up to Marquez for the past three seasons.

Yamaha riders Quartararo and Vinales will start first and second on Sunday's grid with Dovizioso down in 14th, but upcoming tracks are expected to be better suited to the Ducati.

With LCR's Cal Crutchlow also injured, Takaaki Nakagami will start as the top Honda rider, in eighth, with Marc's younger brother and rookie team-mate Alex in 21st after a qualifying fall.

Crutchlow, who required surgery (for a fractured wrist) on Tuesday, said of Marquez: "I agree with Alberto Puig. A champion will always try. He doesn’t want to give up his title. I think he did the right thing.

"It’s incredible he got back on track. I don’t know the extent of his injuries. I know he has a lot of inflammation on the bicep... And I’m sure he has a high pain threshold. But if he feels he can't ride the bike he’s taken the correct decision. He did very well to even try this weekend."

 

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