When MotoGP champion Marc Marquez opted for surgery on his right shoulder, almost exactly a year after a major operation on his left, it was "to avoid the situation we had with the other shoulder".

While the Spaniard was beginning to suffer dislocations of the right shoulder, it was nowhere near as weak as the left shoulder had been.

As such, there was less damage for doctors to correct, with Marquez's Repsol Honda team confirming the latest operation had been "less aggressive in nature" than 2018.

That would imply that the reigning eight-time champion should face a swifter recovery and be in a better position fitness-wise for the start of testing, at Sepang next month.

But it seems that has not been the case.

Instead, Marquez expects to be in "more or less a similar position" to last year when he returns to the track, which means being "pretty much ready" to ride, but unlikely to do a full testing programme.

"In the last two weeks I’ve made a pretty big step and at the start of the month I wasn’t that optimistic," Marquez explained.

Nonetheless, just as last year, "it’s possible that in pre-season I won’t be able to do all the laps that are necessary and should be made."

Comparing his situation with one year ago, Marquez said: "The operation was more simple but the recovery has been more complex and more difficult.

"They told me that when they open the shoulder that there are nerves and muscles that can be affected. 

"It has taken longer than we thought. I’ve disappeared a bit from social media because I’ve been 100% concentrated on what I needed to do."

Marquez is yet to ride a motorcycle since the November 27 operation but hopes to complete some laps (probably on a dirt bike) before getting back on an RCV.

"I really want to ride again and try at least one type of bike before going to Malaysia. We haven’t done it yet because I haven’t been ready."

The Sepang test takes place from February 7-9, when fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami and Tech3 KTM's Miguel Oliveira will also make their returns from shoulder surgery.

Marquez was only eleventh fastest at the 2019 Sepang test, but was not pushing for one-off lap times and running a shorter than usual schedule. Nonetheless, he went on to battle for victory in the opening round at Qatar, before taking the first of 12 wins next time in Argentina.

It had been especially important for Marquez to try and test as much as possible in the 2019 pre-season since then team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was new to the RCV and battling injury problems of his own.

The similarities continue in that Marc's 2020 team-mate, younger brother Alex, also lacks experience with the Honda - and indeed the MotoGP class.

"Last year Jorge Lorenzo was injured and so it fell to me to evolve the bike," Marc said.

"Now the dynamic is the same because my team-mate is Alex and he’s a rookie and cannot ask much when it comes to concepts of the bike because – like Jorge Lorenzo – he has to understand the bike and know how is a Honda.

"There is also [LCR Honda's] Cal Crutchlow who is very capable to also have a second opinion of the development.

"I think the test in Malaysia will be like last year; I won’t be able to do all the laps I want but it will help to work on the shoulder as well."

Meanwhile, Marc played down the chance of being distracted by having his brother on the other side of the garage.

"He's arrived in MotoGP as [Moto2] world champion and with a lot of enthusiasm, but my mentality and focus is the same," Marc said. "The first rival is always your team-mate but this year he’s a rookie.

"I’ll be working 100% and don’t want to worry at all about the other half of the box. The moment I enter the circuit I will be 100% focussed on what I have to do, even if we do keep on training and working together."

As a rookie, Alex will be eligible to join fellow newcomers Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona (plus the Concession teams and MotoGP test riders) during the Sepang Shakedown test, which precedes the Official test.

The final day of the Shakedown clashes with the Repsol Honda team launch, in Jakarta on February 4, but the relatively short trip from Malaysia to Indonesia means Alex is expected on track for most of the Shakedown.

Alex will be getting his first taste of the 2020 RCV in Malaysia, after riding the 2019 machine at the end of last year.

 

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