Sunday Times

Nerves plague Marquez


Marc Marquez is a six-times MotoGP world champion but he admitted he had butterflie­s in his stomach ahead of today’s Portuguese Grand Prix when he returns to the track for the first time since last year’s season-ending crash.

Marquez fractured his upper arm in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix in July and did not race again all year.

The Repsol Honda rider also missed the opening two races of this season in Qatar.

“My confidence is not high, I have to start step by step. This is my pre-season,” Marquez said. “It’s true I’m nervous, I have butterflie­s in my stomach which is not normal ... But the Japanese staff really motivated me and told me, ‘Don’t worry, there’s no target’.

“It was a difficult decision not to race in Qatar because I was feeling ready but not 100%.” Marquez may not have ideal conditions on his return, however, with rain expected.

“I won’t want to ride the first time in a long time in rainy conditions. But if it rains, we will ride,” Marquez added.

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, third in the standings, welcomed back his Spanish compatriot after nine months on the sidelines.

“As a rider, staying away for a year is very difficult. Our way of enjoying life is riding the bike,” said Vinales, who won in Qatar.

“On the track we’re rivals but off the track we have a good laugh.” — Reuters

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