Marc Marquez crashed yet again during a race, and to top it off the Spanish champ proceeded to take still another tumble during a warmup run. The spills happened this past Saturday and Sunday at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez.
That’s two crashes in just one weekend for Marquez, who is still recovering from a highside that left him unable to compete for most of 2020. The good news is that Marquez is fine. Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) said that a CT scan confirmed he is OK, and is still set to compete in the next round at Le Mans.
Neither of these latest crashes, both lowsides, were nearly as severe as last year’s, but I think this can’t be good for Marquez whose long road to a full recovery just keeps getting longer. It also can’t be good for his team, as you can see from the dread on their faces while they watched the champ crash:
I’m quite surprised that Marquez did not suffer any major injury following the first tumble. It seems the Air Fence softened his impact, and since he slid mostly on his back, he was fortunate enough to not aggravate his existing injury.
Another surprise take here is that Marquez fully expected to crash at some point this year, as he explained in the statement HRC provided following the accident:
It was a very fast and hard fall at Turn 7, we knew that the first crash of the season would come but I chose maybe one of the worst corners to have this first crash. When you push for a fast lap, you don’t think about the risks and after being conservative yesterday, today was about attacking. The impact against the air fence was at a very high speed and thanks to the air fence I am here. I went to the hospital just for some further checks to be sure of my condition and it was all clear.
The second crash Marquez underwent did not take place during competition, happening at Sunday’s warmup, instead. It was not as bad as the first crash and, once again, the Air Fence came to the champ’s, uhh, defense.
I’m making a note of this because puns are fun, but also because the Air Fence didn’t seem like a good idea to some folks. I think these crashes show the Air Fence works well, and I imagine HRC would agree.
Both of Marquez’s accidents have marred an otherwise happy return to competition for the champ. Overall, however, the HRC team has a lot of work to do in order to dial in its machines and optimize them for its riders. Marquez was also not the only Honda MotGP rider to crash at Jerez over the weekend.
Another of Honda’s racers, Pol Espargaró, took his own tumbles, plural. Espargaró crashed twice, and on the same turn as Marquez, no less. MotoGP called it a “carbon copy” of the crash Marquez went through, right down to the Air Fence save.
Espargaró later said the HRC team has thus far taken an approach that focuses too much on the riders as individuals, and not enough on the team as a whole. What ever HRC chooses to do in order to address this, they would be wise to remember one thing: The rubber side goes down.