MotoGP: Marc Marquez's fourth arm operation deemed a success by his surgeon

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Marc Marquez has undergone surgery on his right humerus for the fourth time and the procedure has been deemed a success by his surgeon.

The Repsol Honda rider revealed the decision to have another operation following the conclusion of qualifying at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. Doctors gave him the go ahead only 24 hours prior after being satisfied that the humerus bone was strong enough for the operation.

Marquez broke his right humerus in an accident during the 2020 season opener at Jerez. He had surgery a couple of days later but attempted to make a return just four days later at the same circuit, damaging the titanium plate which had been fitted during that procedure.

Two more operations followed and an infection to the fracture prolonged and further complicated Marquez’s rehabilitation period. The third operation involved a bone graft from his hip to the affected area in his arm.

Marc Marquez waves goodbye to the crowd and MotoGP at Mugello

This latest three-hour operation, which took place at the Rayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, involved the extraction of osteosynthesis material from Marquez’s shoulder, and a humeral osteotomy to increase the external rotation movement of his right arm, whilst maintaining shoulder stability.

The complex procedure was performed by Dr. Joaquin Sanchez Sotelo and his medical team, and has deemed a success without complications.

“Today we had the opportunity to operate on the right humerus of Mr. Marc Marquez,” Dr. Sotelo said. “The procedure was completed in approximately three hours. Despite the complexity of the procedure, the final outcome was satisfactory.

“Surgery consisted in removing the proximal two screws of the posterior plate previously placed by Dr. Samuel Antuña on December of 2020, followed by a rotational humeral osteotomy.

“Such procedure involves creating a transverse cut of the humeral bone to rotate the humerus along its long axis. The amount of rotation performed today was approximately 30 degrees of external rotation. The humerus was stabilized in the new position using an anterior plate with multiple screws.

“Surgery was completed uneventfully. We would like to wish Mr. Marquez a swift recovery and a successful return to his professional career.”

Marc Marquez on the grid at Mugello for his final race before surgery

The eight-time world champion will now remain in the United States to ensure his “immediate post-operative recovery before returning home to continue his treatment plan.

At this stage it’s not known how long Marquez will be out of action for, but the Spaniard won’t want to return to racing unless he’s 100% ready and healthy enough to do so. A 2023 return is most likely at this stage.

HRC test rider Stefan Bradl will take his place at the Catalan Grand Prix this weekend, but Honda has not confirmed whether or not Bradl will keep the seat for the foreseeable future.

Keep reading below to find out why Marquez has chosen to take time away from MotoGP in order to undergo this latest operation.

MotoGP: Marc Marquez set for racing hiatus after confirming fourth arm operation

First published: 28 May 2022 by Josh Close

Six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez will undergo a fourth operation on his right arm next week in Minnesota, United States.

Repsol Honda boss Alberto Puig and Marquez revealed the news in a special press conference held after qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix – a session which included another big crash for Marquez in mixed conditions. The operation is possible now because the humerus bone is strong enough to go through the procedure, which will also focus on Marquez’s shoulder.

Puig explained that this latest procedure, which will take place on May 31 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, will involve the extraction of osteosynthesis material from Marquez’s shoulder, and a humeral osteotomy to increase the external rotation movement of his right arm, whilst maintaining shoulder stability.

Marc Marquez pictured at Jerez only a few days after surgery in 2020

Marquez originally broke his right arm at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix, but tried to return only a few days after surgery and damaged the titanium plate in his arm as a result. Another two operations followed, with one causing an infection which prevented the arm from healing correctly.

Marquez missed the entirety of the 2020 season and the opening two rounds of 2021. The Spaniard went on to win three races, but suffered a concussion and second bout of diplopia after a training accident and missed the final two races of the year. Another big highside during practice for the Indonesian caused the double vision to resurface, meaning that Marquez missed another two races.

“Since I had the first surgery on my arm everything has been complicated and the infection was the worst thing,” Marquez said in today’s press conference. “The doctors did an amazing job to take care of that and recover my bone.

“That was a success, but after I came back, I felt a big limitation with my arm. I’ve realised this season that I’m not enjoying it, I’m just suffering a lot. I have a lot of pain; I don’t have much power and cannot ride like I want. I’ve started to injure my left shoulder as well because I’m pushing too much with my left arm.”

Marquez has not been on the podium this season and has a best finish of fourth at Jerez. He finished sixth at Le Mans two weeks ago, benefiting from other riders crashing ahead of him.

Marc Marquez has been suffering onboard his 2022 RC213V

Overall, it’s been tough for Marquez not only due to his physical condition, but also having to work with and try to adjust to what is essentially an all-new RC213V bike. Both factors have caused Marquez to try and adapt his regular riding style.

There’s no timescale yet for his return, but Marquez admitted that he knew this was the right time to go ahead and have surgery once again.

“I don’t have any idea [with regards to a return date] because my doctors have told me that after surgery, we’ll go step by step, but it will of course be a long time. The reason that I’m doing this now is because for me, this is no way to ride.

“I’m suffering too much; I’m not enjoying it and every weekend it’s a nightmare just to keep pushing. I have some ups and downs, I know I can be on the podium at some circuits, but it’s not the way I want to ride because I’m creating more injuries and so I cannot keep riding like this.”

The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for Marquez. Three operations on his right arm, a concussion, two cases of diplopia and several massive highsides is a lot for anybody to take. All of this occurred after two back-to-back shoulder operations in the previous two years as well.

Marc Marquez pulls off another wonder save at Jerez a few weeks' ago

One thing is for certain though; Marc Marquez isn’t one to give up…

“Always one of my strong points is being strong in the mind, and believe me, if I didn’t have this character during this time, I’d have just given up. But, if you want something, you need to push and you must believe.”

Once the post-operative period has been completed, he will return to Spain to begin his recovery. Doctors will then assess Marquez’s condition and his recovery period.

Whilst nothing has been confirmed yet, it’s highly likely that HRC test rider Stefan Bradl will take Marquez’s place for the foreseeable future.

The news comes after another crash during Q2 at Mugello this afternoon. In mixed conditions, Marquez was attempting to get clear of the pack and get a lap-time in before any rain fell, but suffered a highside at turn two. He was able to walk away, but his RC213V was left in pieces and also caught fire.

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Josh Close

By Josh Close

Sports Reporter and fan of all things motorsport.