Marquez missed pre-season testing and the opening two rounds of the 2021 season in Qatar, with Honda test rider Stefan Bradl replacing him at both races. Picture: REUTERS
Marquez missed pre-season testing and the opening two rounds of the 2021 season in Qatar, with Honda test rider Stefan Bradl replacing him at both races. Picture: REUTERS

Marc Marquez will make his much anticipated return to MotoGP racing for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, third round of the season.

The six-times MotoGP champion has been out of action for nine months recovering from a broken arm incurred in a crash at last year’s season-opening Spanish MotoGP. The 28-year-old Repsol Honda rider has had three surgeries and missed pre-season testing and the opening two rounds of the 2021 season in Qatar, with Honda test rider Stefan Bradl replacing him at both races.

"It has been nine difficult months, with moments of uncertainties and ups and downs," Marquez tweeted. "And now, finally, I'll be able to enjoy my passion again.”

Marquez hasn’t raced at Portimao before but recently tested at the circuit riding a Honda road bike.

His absence has been felt by Honda, with its riders Pol Espargaro and Bradl respectively lying 10th and 13th in the championship after the opening two rounds.

Ducati’s Johann Zarco leads the standings on 40 points ahead of Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo (36), with SA’s Brad Binder (KTM) in 12th place on 10 points.

It’s been an intensely competitive start to the season, underlined by the closest top-15 finish of all time in the last race where just 8.9 seconds separated race winner Quartararo and 15th-placed Miguel Oliveira (KTM).

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