After the chequered flag, the Repsol Honda star admitted he wouldn’t even have attended the Italian event had doctors given their surgery verdict prior to the weekend.

Instead, the call from America came between the Friday practice sessions, leaving Marquez in something of a dilemma.

Should he continue, knowing any further damage to the arm could force the operation to be postponed, possibly indefinitely, or play it safe by withdrawing from the event?

The eight-time world champion chose to ride on, a decision that nearly backfired when he suffered a nasty highside on a damp track in qualifying, a few hours before making his operation plans public.

Fortunately, Marquez’s final MotoGP race for at least the next few months passed without incident.

The Spaniard rose from eleventh to ninth in the early laps, briefly dropped to a low of twelfth in the middle stages, then recovered to take tenth from fading pole starter Fabio di Giannantonio.

“Of course, it was a very demanding weekend,” Marquez said. “Not only from the physical side, where every weekend I suffer a lot, but especially the mental side. It was very difficult to keep concentration.

“I received the news [about the operation] on Friday, but if I received that news on a Wednesday or Thursday, I would not race here. But I was here, Honda allowed me to choose and I decide to continue the weekend.

“I said, ‘Okay, I will continue racing. I will take a risk, because you're riding 350 ks per hour. But I will work for [Honda and the team] to give my input for the future.

“It was a difficult race. I enjoyed 6-7 laps in the beginning, I did a great start and I saw the front group. And I was able to ride more or less in the same pace. But then I had one warning and I gave up, because already I started to get arm pump, with a lot of pain and a lack of power.

“Today it was important not to make crazy things. In the end I didn’t try to attack Oliveira, just finished the race.”

Marquez: ‘Riding like this, I cannot continue’

Fully aware that putting his right arm through yet another major surgery isn’t to be taken lightly, Marquez explained that his ongoing problems combined with the clear verdict of the American doctors ultimately meant it had been an ‘easy decision’.

Indeed, Marquez’s biggest fear had been that the Mayo Clinic experts in ‘humeral osteotomy’, a procedure to improve arm mobility by realigning the bone, might have been unsure if surgery would make a difference.

“It’s an operation and everything can happen. You never know. But it’s the correct decision because riding like this, I cannot continue,” Marquez said.

“Of course you are always worried about a fourth operation in the same arm. It’s not easy. But when they called me on Friday, gave me the results and told me all the information. I breathed [a sigh of relief].

“Because there was the possibility to get the results and they might say ‘okay, the rotation is not so big, up to you…’ Then, woah, it’s a big decision.

“But they called me and said straight away: ‘Come next week. We don't know how you are doing what you are doing now. But this rotation is too big. And you must stop now’.

“So for me it was an easy decision. Friday was one of the best days of the year…

“Having the operation is the correct decision for my future, but it’s not like I’ll have the operation and [automatically] win again. No. The target of the operation is to try to enjoy riding again and have a normal life again. Forget the painkillers and all these things. This is the target of the operation.

“Then if you have all these things, and you enjoy it again, the possibilities of good results will increase.”

Marc Marquez: ‘I hope my life will change’

Marquez, contracted to Honda until the end of 2024, revealed that without the operation he would be unlikely to remain in MotoGP beyond that date.

“My daily life is affected a lot [at the moment],” Marquez added. “Before I was always training a lot at home with motorbikes, with motocross, with road bikes, any kind of bikes.

“But now my normal life is; come back after a race, stay 2-3 days at home, relax because I cannot do anything, just to do some leg work, some cycling, and then start to train again. Physio, physio, painkillers.

“I said to my doctors and my people, 'riding like this, I will do one more year, two more years. No more'. Because I'm not enjoying and I'm suffering a lot.

“But having this operation, I hope my life will change. The last two years were not easy.”

Marquez said Honda fully supported his decision: “I feel a very big respect, from Honda to myself. I said to them, 'the situation is this, if you want I can continue riding like this, finishing between 5th-10th, and maybe the podium in some races'.

“They said to me, 'your life is more important. Just take care about you. And we will wait'.”

Marquez, who will fly to the US on Tuesday, said the operation is expected to last around two hours, “but you never know in an operation”.

After initial post-surgery care at the Mayo facility in Rochester, Minnesota, Marquez will return home to Madrid to start rehabilitation with the trusted medical crew that solved the earlier infection in his arm, during his last operation in December 2020.

FULL Crash.Net MotoGP podcast 47 | Rossi, Mugello, 2023 rider moves, and more!

The initial arm-breaking accident occurred in the closing stages of the 2020 MotoGP season-opener at Jerez, Marquez highsiding and being hit by his bike after producing a stunning charge through the field following an early trip through the gravel.

The first surgery saw a titanium plate fitted to the broken bone, but the plate failed after an attempted return to MotoGP action the following weekend.

A second operation was needed to replace the broken plate, but the bone didn't heal, with an infection later diagnosed during the subsequent December surgery.

Marquez was finally cleared to return to MotoGP in April 2021 but, alongside the ongoing arm misery, has since been sidelined twice by diplopia, in October 2021 and March 2022.

Nonetheless, Marquez still managed to take Honda’s only MotoGP wins of the 2021 season at Sachsenring, COTA and Misano, his long-held preference for left-hand tracks being exaggerated by the right-arm problems. 

Marquez's best result so far this season is fourth place, although another COTA victory looked possible without a technical issue at the start.

LCR's Takaaki Nakagami was the top Honda rider in Sunday's Mugello race, finishing just under one-second ahead of Marquez, in eighth. Marquezs team-mate Pol Espargaro, who has taken Honda's only podium of the season so far, in the Qatar opener, fell from 16th on lap 4.