If you ride on road or track you’ll know that you can save a rear-tyre slide if you know roughly what you’re doing, but when you have a front-tyre slide you’re down. Márquez has front-end slides at every other corner, playing with all the grip the tyre has got and more. That’s why rivals struggle to keep up.
Just as some fans complained about Doohan’s dominance, others insisted that last year’s MotoGP championship was better without Márquez – after he broke an arm at the first race – because it was more unpredictable. I’d disagree – despite his metronomic 2019 season there are few riders less predictable than Márquez, because you never know what he’s going to do next.
Obviously, Joan Mir 100% deserved the 2020 championship, but how can any sport be improved by the absence of its greatest exponent?
Before last weekend’s Algarve GP Márquez suffered concussion in an enduro accident. The bang to his head also caused diplopia (medical speak for double vision), the same problem that kept him out of action for several months following a crash at Sepang in 2011, when he fell heavily due to marshals failing to flag a wet section of track.
“The examination carried out on Marc Márquez today after the accident that occurred has confirmed that the rider has diplopia and has revealed a paralysis of the fourth right nerve with involvement of the right superior oblique muscle, said ophthalmologist Dr Bernat Sánchez Dalmau this morning. “A conservative treatment with periodic updates has been chosen to follow with the clinical evolution. This fourth right nerve is the one that was already injured in 2011.”
The 2011 accident damaged the same nerve, which prevented the same muscle controlling rotation of the eyeball. Márquez had double vision until he underwent successful corrective surgery in January 2012.
He revealed later that until his eyesight was fixed he was worried he might never be able to race competitively again. And yet he went on to win the 2012 Moto2 title and the following year the MotoGP crown in his rookie MotoGP season.