Third in the Saturday Sprint, Marquez was trying to keep in touch with the leading trio of Ducatis – Marco Bezzecchi, Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin - when he got out offline into Turn 1, then tipped over.

Rejoining 16th, Marquez recovered to 9th at the chequered flag. But with Bagnaia crashing out and Martin suffering late-race dehydration issues, Marquez would have been well-placed for his first rostrum since Australia 2022.

“I'm a bit frustrated because today the podium was a real chance,” Marquez told “It was a real chance, but with a lot of risk and it's what I did.

“When you try but there are three riders [ahead] that are faster than you. Bezzecchi, Martin and Pecco. I was taking too much risk on those first laps. I went a bit wide on turn 1 and lost the front, was very close to saving it, but it was impossible.

“Then the most important thing is that I finished the race and did all the laps. The pace was to be on the podium so this makes me happy.”

Marquez and Repsol Honda team-mate Joan Mir had been competitive all weekend, why?

“This racetrack is very similar to Austin, a lot of stop and go, first gear corners. We saw in Austin what Rins did. It's not exactly the same here, but it's very similar and in those kinds of [slow] corners we are struggling less.

“So let's see if in Japan we can continue in the same way.”

Next weekend’s Motegi round might also see Marquez finally confirm his 2024 plans, after weeks of uncertainty over whether he will see out his Honda contract or make a sensational switch to Gresini Ducati.

For now, he’s giving no clues.

“An important weekend in Motegi, in many aspects. But yeah, it’s the Honda home circuit, so there will be pressure there. The big boss is coming. So we will try to do our best on the race track.”

Quartararo, behind Marquez when he fell, went on to take third place. 

Mir finished in fifth, by far his best result of the season.