After a mixed start to the defence of his double MotoGP title, Spanish superstar Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will be on a special mission for the first of four home-turf MotoGP races at Jerez on Sunday, as the European Grand Prix season begins in front of massive crowds.
Still only 22, and with his eyes firmly on taking a classic third successive premier-class crown, Marquez took victory at Jerez last year, starting from pole position ‰ÛÒ the fourth in a run of ten straight wins as he powered to a dominant second title.
The year before the former 125cc and Moto2 World Champion broke every youngest-ever record going as he won the premier-class series at his first attempt.
The first three races of this year have brought mixed fortunes. He was fifth in round one in at Qatar, after a first-corner error; then he won round two at the Circuit of the Americas, his third straight pole-to-chequer win at the Texan circuit.
A week later in Argentina he was on pole again, and pulled away in a lead that lasted until the penultimate lap. In a skirmish with multi-champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), the bikes touched at speed, and Marquez fell, scoring no points, although escaping unhurt.
In the break after that race, however, more misfortune struck. Marquez was training on a dirt bike and broke the little finger of his left hand. The injury is painful and potentially problematic, but the four-time World Champion has been passed fit to race.
Jerez is his first chance to get his campaign under way again, at a circuit where in addition to last year‰Ûªs win he has been no stranger to the podium. At his first attempt in MotoGP he was second; and was twice a rostrum finisher in the smaller classes.
‰ÛÏToday I underwent another examination by Dr. [Xavier] Mir, and he confirmed that the wound is healing well and looking good." Marquez explained. "He took off the cast that they had put on and now I have begun to do some physiotherapy work with some active and passive movements.
"My finger will be checked at Jerez after every session and the bandages will be changed. I am very motivated for this Grand Prix, because it is the first of the year in Spain, there are my home fans there and I have some good memories from previous years!
"It‰Ûªs a pity about the injury, but I hope that it doesn‰Ûªt affect me too much and that I can get a great result in front of the fans.‰Û