By now new boy wonder Fabio Quartararo on the satellite Petronas Yamaha had got to the front to win his first GP in immaculate style; a feat he would repeat a week later.
Marquez? He’d got all the way through to third and was planning to challenge for second. Sheer brilliance. Racing divinity.
Then, on the same corner that ended Mick Doohan’s career 20 years earlier, and for the same reason, “I took a white line with both wheels”. A vicious high-side slam-dunked him down then the bike hit him. He was stretchered away.
The immediate diagnosis was bleak enough: a “diaphyseal fracture of the right humerus”, which Dr Google described as “slow to heal”.
It seemed certain that hopes of a seventh premier-class title in eight years were over.
Surgery, the usual screws and plates, went well; there’d been no nerve damage. We’d probably see him again four or five races down the road, in the compressed and attenuated season. But, to the amazement of all… rivals and fans alike, who should turn up back at Jerez?
You guessed it. “I wouldn’t feel like a real champion if I didn’t try.”
Marc waited until the second day of practice, executed 18 laps morning and afternoon, the best of them half-a-second off his own race record and putting him 16th overall.