That has left fans debating who would win this fantasy race between former MotoGP champions.

Stoner retired just as Marquez began to blossom, and despite regularly talking about a comeback, has never returned since his 2012 retirement.

Marquez vs Stoner - Who would win? | MotoGP 2022

“They always ask me that question,” Stoner said in 2020 to Fox Sports. “Do I think I could have beaten Marc?

“Yeah, in some races.

“If Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa did it, then I could have done it too.”

Stoner did admit: “Marc has bridged a gap with many of his weaknesses and would be difficult to beat.”

Marquez was Stoner’s heir at Honda. The complexity grew when the Australian stayed on as a test rider while the Spaniard became the team new’s priority.

“At Honda I was just an occasional tester, I did not have any other role and, to tell you the truth, they never took full advantage of my potential,” Stoner told Italian publication Motosprint.

“I think Marquez and all his entourage felt threatened by me. I don’t know why they thought that, but that’s my feeling.

“I was at Honda to do some testing, to try new things that could then be transferred to the works riders, so I was there to help Marc.

“But it’s also true that the number one rider is the one everyone must follow.”

Stoner has two MotoGP world championships, Marquez has six.

Marquez’s toughest battle, rather than the fantasy debate of how he would have fared against Stoner, will now be rehabilitating his surgically-repaired arm.

He has stepped away from the 2022 season to undergo a fourth operation.