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MotoGP French GP

Marquez “riding at the same level as before his injury”, says Honda MotoGP boss

Honda MotoGP boss Alberto Puig says Marc Marquez is “riding at the same level as before his injury three years ago” following his return at the French Grand Prix.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marquez was sidelined for three rounds after fracturing his right hand in a crash at the season-opening Portuguese Grand Prix, which resulted in him being handed a double long lap penalty before it was eventually annulled following a legal battle.

The eight-time world champion qualified second at Le Mans, finished fourth in the sprint and was on course to finish second in the grand prix before crashing out.

But after the grand prix, Marquez said he preferred crashing out fighting for a podium than finishing a slow 10th and said it was the best he’d felt for a long time.

Speaking in Honda’s Le Mans debrief, Puig feels Marquez is now riding at the level he was prior to his serious arm injury he suffered in 2020.

“Marc did a fantastic race,” Puig said. “Unfortunately, at the end of the race he was chasing a podium and knew that [Johann] Zarco was just behind him and ready to push, so Marc needed to keep fighting.

“The character of a champion is to try and always take the maximum from any situation, which is exactly what Marc did.

“I think Marc is now riding at the same level as before his injury three years ago. He rode superbly and did the best with what he had.”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The French GP saw Honda debut its new chassis built by German manufacturer Kalex, which both Marquez and Joan Mir raced.

Marquez felt the frame was a good improvement, but that Honda needed more than just that to truly improve the bike.

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Commenting on the Kalex tie-up, Puid said: “Well, this project has been ongoing for a while, working in cooperation with them for a long time.

“Now the work from the past months is starting to show and I think it was a positive first step.

“Of course, there are still points to improve, you cannot change something like the chassis in just five minutes – there’s work to do and we will continue to make steps forward.”

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