MotoGP

Marquez returns to MotoGP practice, shoulder still ‘problematic’

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Reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez says his shoulder injury remains “problematic” after riding a practice bike for the first time since undergoing surgery in December.

Marquez dislocated his left shoulder on several occasions over the course of his title-winning 2018 campaign, and had an operation after the conclusion of post-season testing to get the problem resolved.

At the recent Repsol Honda team launch, the five-time premier class champion said the operation was “more difficult” than he had expected and that he would not be back to full fitness for the opening test of 2019, which takes place at Sepang.

Following a targeted winter fitness programme, Marquez completed “a few laps” on a training bike at the Alcarras circuit near his home town of Cervera on Wednesday to assess his shoulder’s recovery.

He then explained that braking for left-hand corners proved to be tricky and that he will need to be patient during the Sepang test, which kicks off next Wednesday.

“Riders in general need to have their minds clear,” said Marquez.

“At least on the trip to Malaysia, which is 14 hours long, I will be thinking I have ridden a bike, got on the brakes, felt the throttle and the clutch.

“We have done a few laps that have helped me to see where things are. This week [in testing] we have to work on it.

“It was pretty much what I expected, the large force under braking – especially left-handers, where I have to support my left shoulder – was problematic.

“That is where we have to continue working, have patience in Malaysia and get to March at full fitness.”

Marquez will be the only works Honda rider in action at Sepang as his new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is skipping the first test having recently had surgery on the broken scaphoid he sustained in a training accident.

Honda tester Stefan Bradl will replace Lorenzo, who is aiming to return to action for the Qatar test on February 23-25.

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