BUT THAT'S ONLY PART OF THE STORY AS MARC MARQUEZ STANDS ON A MOTOGP PODIUM FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 581 DAYS IN GERMANY
Marc Marquez wins a Grand Prix, nothing unremarkable in that statement usually, especially not at the Sachsenring in Germany, however, it WAS remarkable and for several reasons. After a career-threatening arm injury, the mental turmoil that accompanies such a tough situation and the added pressures of being the greatest rider of his generation struggling to regain his once-imperious form, it's no surprise whatsoever that Marc Marquez struggled to contain his emotions as he took the chequered flag and victory in the German Grand Prix.
The story of the six-time MotoGP World Champion's almost 12-month turmoil is well documented as a monster high-side at turn 3 during the Spanish MotoGP race last year after a storming ride through the field, left the Spaniard with a broken right humerus when his Repsol Honda RC213V collided with him as he rolled through the gravel trap. Initial reports weren't favourable but the paddock expected a return within a couple of races, as is the usual way for the top-level racers. They're undoubtedly a different breed.
This wasn't a run-of-the-mill inconvenient injury like a collarbone or metatarsal, though, and return he did, just a week later but ultimately far too soon for the injury to have healed significantly to cope with the forces of a MotoGP motorcycle. Limiting his track time still proved too much for Marquez to be competitive and more importantly to control the pain, subsequently missing a MotoGP race start for the first time in his premier class career and his first DNS since Valencia 2011.
It was soon after that the real troubles began. Depending on which story you believe, Marquez either snapped the titanium metalwork and bone again during practice for the GP or 'opening a window' to let his dogs out... After two stressful fractures on his arm within a week, the injury struggled to heal, requiring a bone graft and extended stay in hospital on an antibiotic IV drip after the wound became infected. Then the real physical and mental recovery began.
Not much came forth from the team about his recovery through the rest of the year apart from a few photos from his social media accounts and carefully staged so as not to show his healing right arm and the dressings and supports used to help the process. Three months of gruelling physio faced the man from Cervera as he took stock of the glaring mistakes made not only by himself but also by the team in the early days of the initial injury. Facing the prospect of never being able to race again or at the very least not at his expected level, they were dark days for Marquez, the only answers would come when he threw his leg over his RCV for the first time.
A return to action at the third Grand Prix of the year saw Marquez show glimpses of his old self, battling as hard as his body would allow around the demanding Portimao circuit in Portugal. A return to Jerez somewhat ironically brought the first scare as he lost the front through the fast turn 7 at the end of FP3, ending up in the air fence. Thankfully there was no damage to the rider, the bone stronger than it was before the initial Jerez crash due to the metalwork involved.
Fast-forward to last weekend and the first left-handed circuit on the calendar. Marquez is the undoubted king of the Sachsenring with 10 successive wins at the Saxony circuit and a real opportunity to return to the podium. Many knowledgeable commentators predicted a win for the Repsol Honda man, such is his domination at the circuit and his love of left-hand circuits, especially in current conditions as it's less stress on his still weak right arm.
The paddock Nostradamus collective were, for once, correct in their predicitons as Marquez lead the majority of the German MotoGP race, kept honest by a dogged Miguel Oliviera who just couldn't close the gap enough at the flag to make the lunge for victory. Indeed it looked the Marquez of old, imperious, and mercurial on his way to his first victory since our world and his changed almost immeasurably. Now, like ours, some semblance of normality is returning for Marc Marquez. The Sachsenring race was a big monkey off his back and a warning to those with an eye on the MotoGP crown in years to come that he's not quite finished yet.
If any proof whatsoever was needed to show just how much it meant to Marquez, his family, and the Repsol Honda team, the unusually public show of bare emotion from all concerned showed the very human side of the situation. From the highs to the lowest of professional lows and back to the highest high, it's been a hell of a journey for the #93 and it's not over yet. Only he and his closest circle know what he's been through mentally and physically over the last 11 months; the pain of the injury and the anguish of not knowing if he'll ride the same way again. To be honest we still don't know just how close he'll come to the Marquez of old, but it'll be the most interesting of stories to follow. Right-hand circuits, a difficult motorcycle and that still-troublesome right arm are yet to be conquered as he fights to return to full fitness, or as full as he can...
Riders are humans. They feel pain and emotion, just as we do but on a higher scale. We may see them as superheroes, masters of their craft, and mentally and physically infallible but that couldn't be further from the truth this weekend. Tears from the rider, family, crew, and senior Honda staff showed just what this victory meant to them all, and should he have not won, but still made the podium, the relief and emotion would have been just as palpable. After the race, Marquez admitted, "it was really hard to keep concentrated because of all the memories, all the situation during this last year was there".
It's an emotional sport at the best of times and situations like these only add to the spectacle.