Can Marc Marquez overcome a 52-point deficit to claim seventh MotoGP title?

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He may not have won on his return to the saddle following injury, but Marc Marquez’s unspoken message to the top men in the MotoGP world championship was clear – I’m on my way back.

The always-smiling Spaniard was forced out of the 2020 MotoGP season after a nasty crash in the opening round at Jerez left him with a broken humerus.

Despite undergoing swift surgery to pin the bone, Marquez’s attempt to return to the some track the following weekend ended early, with the six-time MotoGP world champion explaining the pain was too much for him to race.

Eventually, Marquez took the decision to sit out the entire 2020 season as fellow countryman Joan Mir claimed the world title ahead of Italy’s Franco Morbidelli in a crazy, back-and-forth season that featured nine different race winners across the 14-race campaign.

Now Marquez is back and, after a tentative return to action last weekend in Portimao, the Spanish star is likely to be much closer to his aggressive old self when he returns to the scene of his season-ending crash, Jerez, for the fourth round of the 2021 championship.

Marquez gritted his teeth and battled to a seventh-place finish on his first race back, bettering the two finishes achieved by his teammate Pol Espargaro so far this season.

And, after Johann Zarco’s crash and Fabio Quartararo’s subsequent win, the Spanish ace now finds himself with a 52-point deficit to overhaul if he’s to capture an improbable seventh title.

If that sounds like a lot, consider this – Marquez won the 2019 MotoGP world championship by 151 points and the 2018 title by 76 points, including two DNFs. He has a mountain to climb, but it’s not out of the question.

Watching Marquez attempt to claw back the points through the season on a bike that, based on Espargaro’s performances so far on the same equipment, isn’t as competitive as the other works teams on the grid, will make for thrilling viewing.

Marquez’s spectacular, aggressive riding style, coupled with his ability to ride around problems, is what made him the natural successor to the great Valentino Rossi at the top of the MotoGP pecking order.

He’s going to need all of those abilities, and a fair slice of luck, if he’s going to finish at the top in 2021. It’s going to be fascinating to see just how close he gets.

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