PARIS (AFP) – Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez said on Friday he hopes to emulate the “dream scenario” of compatriot Rafael Nadal’s return from injury as he prepares for pre-season testing in Sepang, Malaysia after an injury-blighted two years.
Spaniard Marquez missed the entire 2020 campaign and the first few races of last season due to a serious injury to his right arm sustained in a crash.
The 28-year-old then suffered from double vision after an off-road training crash at the end of October, missing the final two rounds of the season and the Jerez test session in December.
“I think Rafa Nadal is an inspiration to everyone, athletic or not. What he’s done is amazing,” Marquez told AFP after Nadal’s record 21st tennis Grand Slam win at the Australian Open.
“To come back from injury, when a lot of people said he was finished, and win at 35 years, against a young talent number two in the world (Daniil Medvedev, 25). This is the dream scenario and what I will try to do.
“In every sport there are generational changes, it’s normal. And that’s where you have to work, know how to reinvent yourself, find a new method to stay at the same level and continue to win.
“At 28 years old (29 on February 17), even if I still feel young, I will be one of the most experienced drivers. It’s up to me to use this experience to fight for the title.”
Marquez will try to reclaim the world title from Yahama’s 22-year-old French rider Fabio Quartararo.
“I hope I can have this duel, because it would mean that I am in the fight for the title after two years without being able to do,” said Marquez.
“But it will not be just a duel, it will be a battle with a lot of drivers. Fabio was champion, and he deserves to be because he was the most consistent, but Pecco Bagnaia ended the year being the fastest with the Ducati.
“Logically, the favourite is the defending champion, Fabio, and everyone wants to beat him. But I see these two as favourites. Behind, there will be other protagonists who will have an important role to play.”
Despite continued weakness in the arm, Marquez won three races to finish seventh in the world championship last year.
“It’s already a gift to be here after spending the winter injured, with this problem of double vision,” continued Marquez, who had feared his career was over.
“It was one of the options presented by my doctor,” he said, adding that he had ruled out eye surgery because there was a risk that he would never ride again.
“It was not a perfect physical preparation, I started training the second week of January.
“Today I am lucky to be back, I feel calm because it is a test, nobody wins, nobody loses. It’s about riding, testing the bike.”
After Sepang, Marquez will then head to Indonesia for more testing before the 2022 season gets underway in Qatar on March 6.
“I hope this is the end of the tunnel!” he said.