It was at the same circuit last season that the eight-time world champion announced he would be withdrawing from competition to undergo a fourth round of career-saving arm surgery.

The complicated procedure proved a success and Marquez arrived for this year’s Portimao season opener in his best physical shape since before the original arm fracture at Jerez 2020.

But it didn’t last long. After a podium in the Portimao Sprint, Marquez collided with Miguel Oliveira early in the main race, fracturing his thumb.

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The complicated injury kept him sidelined until last time at Le Mans, where he picked up where he left off as the top Honda rider, battling for podiums on his debut with the new Kalex chassis for fifth in the Sprint, before a late fall from third in the GP.

All of which means, while Alex Rins broke Honda’s win drought at COTA, Marquez hasn’t stood on the top step since Misano 2021. Race day at Mugello will be 595 days since that victory, according to official MotoGP stats.

“Time to get back to work,” Marquez said ahead of this weekend. “We start in Mugello which is always a very demanding weekend, the track is very fast and flowing.

“I’ve had some great battles there in the past and pushing the top speed of a MotoGP bike down the straight is always enjoyable.

“We of course need to see what possible this weekend and see what we can do together with the team to get the maximum from the bike and keep trying to make steps forward.”

New team-mate and fellow MotoGP champion Joan Mir is yet to break into the top ten as a Repsol Honda rider and admitted at Le Mans to feeling ‘scared’ by his present situation, adding:

“It's very difficult for a rider like me to see myself in the position that I am. My motivation [is] to win races to make podiums. This is what gives me the ‘fuel’. It's a long time that I don't have this fuel. So I need it.”

The former Suzuki rider was unable to match his previous GSX-RR lap times in France but hopes the intense three races in three weekends schedule will accelerate his RC213V progress.

“A lot of time on the bike is something I am looking forward to as I think we can keep making progress forward and unlock what we have been missing,” he said.

“Mugello is the first of the three races in a row, I was on the podium there in 2021 and it’s a spectacular circuit to ride. Maximum effort, maximum focus and maximum determination.”