While his status heading into the new MotoGP season is still in question, Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez remains a championship threat for many on the grid. 

Marquez has been out of action for close to a year after suffering a broken arm at the opening round of the 2020 season in Jerez - the longest stretch of time he's been away from competitive racing in his career.

The 2020 season saw many new winners and potential champions going forward, and one of those was vice-champion to Joan Mir, Franco Morbidelli

The Italian won as many races last season as any other rider with three - the same amount as his Petronas Yamaha team-mate at the time Fabio Quartararo.

If not for collisions in both the first Austrian (Spielberg) and Italian (Misano) races that were out of his control, plus the engine failure at Jerez, Morbidelli could well have challenged Mir until the season finale in Portimao.

With the 2021 season getting ever closer, and the fitness of Marquez still a doubt, Morbidelli gave his thoughts about the Spaniard's injury situation saying: "It's a huge injury because I don't remember seeing a rider and a guy that is at his pinnacle losing one year of his job, of his sport," said Morbidelli.

"I don't remember that happening. So it's going to be difficult to [immediately] come back in the same shape and in the same way he has always been. But not impossible."

Testing is due to start in Qatar this week for the entire MotoGP grid except Marquez who has been advised not to ride, which begs the question of when he will return and if he can return to the rider everyone knows.

While Morbidelli made it clear he does not know the extent of the injury, it is the mental aspect he believes will be the toughest for Marquez.

"If I put myself in his shoes, I don't know the extent of his injury, but it's a pretty big one, I don't know the pain he is going through right now, so I cannot judge about that, I can't judge about physical struggles," said the Italian.

"But I can judge about mental struggles. I know that such a big injury for sure has repercussions in your head because we are humans, and we remember bad stuff.

"This is what brought us ahead in evolution, so we remember these things and to fight against something this big is always going to be tough.

"But he's a tough guy, he's a tough athlete, and he's a tough person, so I don't see why he won't be able to fight back and come back as he was."