During last weekend’s Spanish MotoGP, Marquez saved an extreme front-end washout on his elbow for the first time since returning from injury in 2021. 

Viewed as a skill that was perhaps lost from his arsenal, Marquez’s stunning save was a reminder that the magical Spaniard has a lot of tricks left up his sleeve. 

What Marquez’s momentary mistake did do is cost him a shot at the podium as Aleix Espargaro benefited by moving up to third, as did Miller with fourth on the rundown to turn one. 

"Scary! This is not nice to experience. But at the end, if there is no crash, it is spectacular to watch but better not to watch it," said Repsol Honda Team Manager Puig when analysing the near crash. 

Marquez recovers for a very strong fourth, but this is ‘not his or Repsol Honda’s target’ - Puig

Marquez did manage to regain fourth off Miller on the final lap, but at this stage Espargaro was much further up the road, making P3 an impossible task. 

The eight-time world champion remains without a podium so far this season, and although it’s been a slightly better return than 2021 through six races (missed two Grand Prix’ in both campiagns to this point), the last two years remain a long way off anything we saw from 2013-19. 

Speaking about his rider’s performance at Jerez, Puig added: "It was not a bad race. I think Marc Márquez did a very good job. It was not an easy weekend; we were struggling a little but Marc was able to manage a good result with an exciting race. 

"This is encouraging after his feeling was not so good in Portimao. He handled the situation well during the whole race, he had a good battle with the riders around him and he saved one crash – it has been some time since he did this."

Can we expect to see Marc Marquez battling for MotoGP wins this season?

This is a complicated answer to find as there are key areas holding the Spaniard and Honda back.

The first and perhaps biggest is his obvious lack of front-end feeling, once again highlighted by his near crash at Jerez. 

Despite a solid top five in Qatar to begin the season, a miraculous recovery from last to sixth in Texas and a P4 in Jerez when his race pace was shaping up to be towards the bottom end of the top ten, Marquez has so far been unable to produce his best.

The revolutionised RC213V was supposed to be a much better package, and although early results in testing and Qatar seemed to suggest it was, all Honda riders have seemed ‘lost’ to a certain extent recently. 

Last Monday’s one-day test was a big one for Honda who had several new parts to try, but only the next couple of rounds will demonstrate weather improvements have been made for one, and secondly if Marquez has a bike he can make an unlikely title charge with. 

Of course, there are several circuits on the calendar where Marquez will always be competitive at - Germany in four rounds time should certainly be one, but it could take time before Marquez is consistently at the front. 

Based on last season, Honda started to make strides forward around Austria and Silverstone, which could again be the scenario in 2022. 

While it’s been a tough start to the year for Marquez, we must not forget that he’s yet to finish a race outside the top six, which alone should indicate that once Honda gives the 29 year-old a bike he can truly push to the limit with, then victories should begin to happen. 

Speaking before the test, Puig stressed that fixing the bike is the biggest concern at present: "We are working to fix the points of the bike that are still not correct and this process is underway. We have an important test on Monday to allow us to better understand the new machine because of course Marc’s target is not to be finishing fourth or sixth, his target, and also the target of the Repsol Honda Team, is to win races and titles. This is the only target."