Alex Marquez In Misano Top Ten, Espargaro Out Of Luck
Honda’s top finisher in today’s San Marino Grand Prix was Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol Honda RC213V) who rode a determined race to finish tenth at sun-blessed Misano, the track situated just a few miles inland from Italy’s Riviera holiday beaches
The former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion was happy enough with his result, which followed two challenging days of practice and qualifying, which had put him 16th on the grid for round 14 of the 20-race 2022 MotoGP World Championship.
Today the younger Marquez was watched by his older brother Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) who arrived here on Friday night and will make a much-anticipated return to MotoGP riding on Tuesday, at the start of an official two-day Misano test to be attended by all teams.
Marquez underwent a humeral osteotomy on his injured right arm in early June and returned to riding last week, twice testing with his Honda CBR600RR training bike to ensure the arm is in good shape. He will ride his RC213V on Tuesday and if that goes well he will also ride on Wednesday. So far there is no decision as to when Honda’s six-times MotoGP World Champion will return to racing.
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was Honda’s second-fastest qualifier yesterday and was looking forward to a strong race this afternoon but he only got as far as the first corner when Johann Zarco and Michele Pirro crashed, their fallen machines taking him out. Luckily the 31-year-old Spaniard wasn’t seriously hurt in the accident, sustaining a minor injury to a wrist. He should be able to take part in next week’s tests to learn more about the bike and try new parts and settings in readiness for the next race – the Aragon Grand Prix in Spain – on 18 September.
Honda’s official MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who was once again taking the place of Marc Marquez, had his best result of the year so far and scored his first points of the season, thanks to a fine ride. The 32-year-old German finished the race in 14th place, less than one second ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V), who lost time avoiding the first-corner incident.
Nakagami also lost several positions when Zarco, Pirro and Espargaro fell, which left him with a lot of work to do during the remainder of the 27-lap race. He completed the first lap in 20th position, maintaining his focus to keep moving forward. The 30-year-old from Chiba is very much looking forwards to the Tuesday and Wednesday tests.
The next stop in the 2022 MotoGP World Championship is the Aragon GP, then riders and teams pack up and head eastwards for the Asian/Australian sector of the series. This starts at Twin Ring Motegi on 18 September, the first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019, then moves onto Thailand, Australia, and Malaysia, before the paddock returns to Europe for the season-ending Valencia GP in Spain, on 6 November.