Marquez limping into the MotoGP season

Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:34am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The broken leg is mending fast but Honda's Marc Marquez will still be starting his MotoGP title defense on the back foot in Qatar on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Spaniard, who in his rookie season became the youngest ever champion in motorcycling's top category, fractured the fibula in his right leg while dirt-bike riding six weeks ago.

The injury meant he missed two of his team's three pre-season tests in Malaysia and Australia, although the leg was not put in plaster, and has not ridden a MotoGP bike since February 6.

"It was very disappointing for me to miss the two tests but the good news is that I'm getting better and the bone is mending," Marquez said before flying to Doha for Sunday's floodlit night race at the Losail desert circuit.

"I've been exercising more, so I'll have to see how I am in Qatar. I don't expect to be 100 percent, but I will try my hardest.

"The important thing is to take some valuable points and then get up to 100 percent by round two in Austin (Texas)," added the champion.

Marquez was third on his MotoGP debut in Qatar last year after winning the 2012 Moto2 race, and went on to chalk up six wins.

While he has had to put his feet up, team mate and injury-prone compatriot Dani Pedrosa did plenty of laps in testing and has been putting in extra time in the gym to ensure he is in the best shape.   Continued...

Spain's Marc Marquez (R), MotoGP 2013 World Champion, and his teammate compatriot Dani Pedrosa gesture during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Repsol Honda motorcycling team in Madrid February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Perez