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Marquez Training Crash Highlights Inconsistent MotoGP Concussion Protocol (Opinion)

Controversy surrounding concussions and professional motorcycle racers has existed for many years, as this MD article from 2016 indicates. Unlike broken bones, concussions are the “unseen injury” that is more easily ignored by professional motorcycle racers that simply do not want to miss an event.

We have observed numerous crashes in MotoGP resulting, at the very least, in minor concussions where the rider has been allowed to continue with practice sessions and races on the same weekend. The pressure on star riders to continue participating despite a minor concussion are apparently huge.

These circumstances heightened our interest in the following press release from HRC received earlier this week:

This past Saturday Marc Marquez, while preparing for the Algarve Grand Prix with one of his standard off-road training sessions, suffered a fall that caused a slight head concussion. After a few days of rest at home and seeing that he was still unwell, today Marquez has been assessed by doctors in a medical check-up to evaluate his current status. As a precautionary measure, this coming weekend Marquez will not contest the Algarve Grand Prix.

In light of what we have seen during race weekends, we are genuinely skeptical about the “slight” nature of the concussion that resulted in Marquez “after a few days of rest” still feeling “unwell”. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a race team put “spin” on a concussion injury.

We wish Marquez well, of course, and applaud Honda’s decision to keep him on the sidelines this weekend. Marquez is a prolific crasher (take a look at this GPOne article that actually counts his crashes each year in MotoGP). We just wish MotoGP, and other motorcycle racing series, in general, would try a little harder to evaluate concussion injuries by applying a consistent protocol.

14 Comments

  1. VLJ says:

    If this race mattered to Honda in terms of the rider’s championship, the team championship, or the manufacturer’s championship, you can be nearly certain that #93 would be out there come P3 and qualifying, never mind Sunday’s action. He might be allowed to skip the Friday sessions and P4, but as long as he could pass the most rudimentary physical he would be cleared by Honda and their doctors to race in Portugal.

    Recall the “physical” Marc had to pass in order to be allowed to take part in the race weekend immediately following his 2020 crash in which he broke his arm.

    They made him do a few pushups, which he gutted through. In the race he then went out and FUBAR’d it something fierce.

    Yeah, sure, Honda.

    “You’re good to go, kid. Go get ’em.”

    • Mick says:

      That’s racing. It won’t change in your lifetime.

      I only race selected events, for decades. There are still a lot or things that I would like to unsee. Most of it visited on children by their parents. Poor kids.

  2. Mick says:

    I wonder what he was doing. Off-road is a pretty broad term. I know those guys ride a lot of dirt track type stuff. Some of them ride motocross. Observed trials is popular in Spain. Maybe he was doing some single track.

    Maybe they don’t specify because he was doing freestyle jumps or something along those lines. Crashed in off-road training has a lot more respectable ring than bumped his coconut crashing a back flip.

    • Jeremy says:

      Marquez routinely rides flat track and MX between races for training. But yeah, I doubt we’d hear if he botched the backflip while sending that big triple.

  3. TimC says:

    The thing is, NO concussion is a “minor concussion.” It means the brain was subjected to g’s it was not designed to, that exceeded the system’s (evolved) limits. Motorsport has allowed us to outpace evolution.

    • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

      Agreed. No such thing as minor concussions. They’re all bad. Some are extreme. I’ve had one that left me dazed and confused for 4 days before I was feeling normal. Still, riding for another week wasn’t even an option.

  4. Gary says:

    It really is a pity. Such tremendous talent, without the sound judgment to make the most of it.

    • Jerry says:

      Yeah, it’s a shame he never amounted to anything.

      • paul says:

        “Yeah, it’s a shame he never amounted to anything.”
        indeed. will anybody ever remember Marc Marquez.
        “Are you saying it’s poor judgement for a professional motorcycle racer to practice motorcycling? He was training. Stuff happens.”
        indeed.
        Nicky Hayden was cycling.
        i see plenty of road racers ‘training’ on dirt track and motor-cross.
        i watched a documentary on NHL players. the show’s point was comparing current top NHL players who trained nothing but hockey to players that played (excelled at) numerous different sports.
        the show stated that the players whom played multi sports generally were better hockey players.
        Wayne Gretzky, in his youth, was an all-star lacross player, at the time of also being an all- star hockey player. It is said that 99 preferred lacross to hockey. It is said that his father had a say in 99 going into hockey full-time when it came time($$$) .

      • TimC says:

        LOL. SICK burn.

    • Dave says:

      Are you saying it’s poor judgement for a professional motorcycle racer to practice motorcycling? He was training. Stuff happens.

  5. L. Ron Jeremy says:

    He also suffered a deep bruise on his flummox bone.

  6. dt-175 says:

    i bet he hurt his arm again.

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