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Riders praise Marquez for MotoGP return

Marc Marquez (93) of Spain and Repsol Honda Team during the race of the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal at Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve on April 18, 2021 in Portimao, Portugal. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez returned to MotoGP in Portugal after being out of the sport since last year’s Spanish GP, where he broke his arm.

Riders from the sport praised Marquez for his strong return to the sport after months out of it.

“I expect that [to see a strong comeback from Marquez],” said Portugal winner Fabio Quartararo after the race.

“He finished a little bit more than 10 seconds from the lead, but he never made 25 [laps] in a row [at Portimao]. This track for me is the most physical track on the calendar.

“So, now he knows the feeling of doing a full race on a tough track.

“So now he will come back to a track he knows pretty well in Jerez, so for me it’s the result that I expected and in qualifying he was impressive. So, he’s back.”

Joan Mir, reigning World Champion, also shared his thoughts on Marquez’s return.

“The truth is that he looks like he’s close to 100% and he was able to make a strong comeback. The truth also is that he’s been really, really strong also this weekend.

“It’s the first test he did with the Honda and for sure it’s no the same Honda from when he left. This makes everything more difficult, even if you are not 100%, so it’s more difficult.

“He and his team did a great job and he managed to finish first Honda.”

Francesco Bagnaia said he expected a strong return from Marquez and that he is sure the Spaniard will be “on top” in the next race in Spain.

“I was expecting his return would be like this,” he said.

“And after a weekend like this, because he was third in the first session, sixth in the second session, qualified sixth.

“So, I was thinking he would try to fight for the top 10 and he finished seventh. So, I was thinking that he was able to make a result like this.

“I think also he wouldn’t come back if he wasn’t at 100%, so I think physically he is on top.

“For sure, riding a bike is different physically and riding for 25 laps is difficult. But he made what I was expecting, and at Jerez he will be on top for sure.”

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