Mir “surprised” Marquez not riding in Qatar MotoGP races

Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says he is “surprised” about Marc Marquez’s decision not to race in the Qatar and Doha Grands Prix this week.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Honda announced on Monday that, following consultation from his doctors, Marquez would not stage his long-awaited MotoGP return in the season-opening Qatar double-header despite his accelerated training programme.

The six-time world champion was cleared to begin riding motorcycles again earlier this month and undertook two trackdays at Barcelona and the Algarve on a Honda RC213V-S, with his reaction on social media leading many to believe he would start the Qatar GP.

He will now return to action at the Portuguese GP in mid-April at the earliest, undergoing a medical check on 12 April to see if his doctors will clear him.

Suzuki’s Mir was one of those who felt Marquez would return in Qatar, saying on Thursday at Losail: “Well, I’m surprised that Marc is not here because I saw him, he was testing with the street bike two times in two different tracks.

“So, I thought he was getting ready to come here in Qatar, and in the end to hear that for sure is not positive for him because these two races are something he will need.

“He will need to restart again, to see how feels with the MotoGP bike.

“But it will be difficult for him to restart in Portimao and then to be strong in Portimao and fight for the championship.


Photo by: Repsol Media

“But I think he knows better than anybody how to ride a MotoGP bike and he will be strong fast.”

Mir’s Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins admitted he was “shocked” by the news, having seen Marquez training in his hotel in Qatar last week while he was in the country for his COVID-19 vaccine.

Ducati’s Jack Miller, however, feels Marquez’s decision was a “no-brainer” as pushing your body on a street bike on a trackday is not the same as the stresses of racing in MotoGP.

“I think nobody knows better than Marc the struggles he’s gone through this past year, trying to get back healthy,” Miller said.

“I mean if the doctors are advising him not to come here and ride… there’s a big difference between riding a street bike and then coming here and pushing on the razor’s edge every lap with 22 other guys around you.

“So, for me it’s a no-brainer. He’ll be back, he’ll be strong.

“When that is, it’s completely up to him. As Joan says, for sure there’s some valuable points going away and I’m sure he’s not thinking about that at this point in time.

“He’s just thinking about getting back on the motorcycle.”

Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli echoed Miller’s thoughts, adding: “I was curious to see what he was going to do, and I think he chose the safer path, quite an intelligent choice.

“So, we wait for him in the next races. He knows when… well, the doctors know when.”

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