Marc Marquez has been officially cleared to make his MotoGP return at the upcoming Sepang test on February 5-6.
The eight-time world champion has been sidelined since last October’s Misano victory due to double-vision problems following an enduro training accident.
The nerve damage to his right eye was the same as he suffered in 2011, when he was off a racing motorcycle for 4.5 months.
Fortunately, after two months of total rest, Marquez was cleared to make a motocross return earlier this month. That then led to a track day at Portimao on an RC213V-S to test his vision at high speeds, followed a few days later by an outing on a CBR600RR at Aragon.
With Marquez reporting no eye issues, he began preparing for Sepang and has now been officially cleared to ride in Malaysia following a medical check which “reconfirmed that the treatment has been a complete success”.
‘Throughout the winter Marquez has had continual medical checks and consultations to monitor his diplopia,’ said a Repsol Honda statement.
‘In recent weeks the improvements in his condition saw his medical team deem his recovery sufficient to return to training on two wheels. The #93 first returned to the motocross track before trying the Honda RC213V-S in Portimao and a Honda CBR600RR in Aragon.
‘Last Monday, January 24, Marquez underwent another medical check which reconfirmed that the treatment has been a complete success and the eight-time World Champion is in a suitable condition to ride a MotoGP bike.
‘Therefore, it has been decided that Marquez will start his 2022 campaign at the first official MotoGP Test in Sepang before heading to Mandalika, Indonesia the following week. This will be Marquez’s first time back on a MotoGP machine since winning the 2021 Emilia Romagna GP ahead of Pol Espargaro.
‘The Repsol Honda Team will head to the first test of the new season at full strength with Marquez alongside Pol Espargaro, who enters his second year with the team.’
2022 is Marquez’s fourth pre-season in a row undergoing a recovery from injury, having had shoulder surgery ahead of 2019 and 2020, before arm fracture complications forced him to miss the opening two rounds of 2021.
The eye problem then ruled Marquez out of the last two rounds but he still managed to take three wins last season – his and Honda’s only victories since 2019, when he romped to a sixth MotoGP crown with 12 race wins.
The 28-year-old’s return for pre-season testing will be especially welcomed by Honda, which has developed an all-new RC213V, most notably with enhanced rear grip, and will want feedback from Marquez before engine design is homologated at round one in Qatar.
With Marquez injured, Joan Mir (Suzuki) and then Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) have won the MotoGP title for the past two seasons, respectively.