The eight-time World Champion broke his arm in a crash at last year’s season-opening race in Jerez. A plate was fitted to his fractured right humerus and he attempted to return to action the very next weekend.
However, he abandoned qualifying and had to undergo a second operation when the plate broke as Márquez attempted to open a heavy glass door at his house.
A third operation was needed in December, when scans showed that his injury was not healing, and an infection was found at the site.
With Marquez out, sibling team-mate Álex still on a learning curve and test rider stand-in Stefan Bradl building up his race pace on the RC213V, the team’s best results were a pair of runner-up finishes for the younger Márquez at Le Mans and Aragon.
It was the first time since 1982 that Honda has competed in motorcycle racing’s top echelon without registering a win.
This year, Pol Espargaró joins Márquez off the back of a four-year tenure with KTM, becoming his fifth team-mate in three seasons. He replaces Álex, who has been moved to the satellite squad LCR, partnering Takaaki Nakagami.
It was the first time Márquez has been seen in a public appearance for Honda since his unsuccessful comeback attempt at last season’s second race at Jerez, after breaking his right arm at the season opener on the same circuit.
Espargó, signing off the back of a four-year tenure with KTM, becomes Marquez’s fifth team-mate in three seasons. He replaces Marc’s brother Álex, who has been moved to the satellite squad LCR, partnering Takaaki Nakagami.
If Márquez is unable to compete immediately, it is thought Bradl will once again step in to replace him.