On paper, seventh place for Marc Marquez in Sunday's Dutch MotoGP was nothing to be too impressed about, given his return to winning ways just seven days earlier at Sachsenring.

However, Assen is a very different track and, still sore after a huge Friday highside, the Repsol Honda rider had to start the race from a MotoGP worst 20th on the grid.

But in a further sign that Marquez is nearing his pre-arm injury form, the Spaniard scythed to 13th place at Turn 1 and was eleventh by the end of the opening lap.

"We saw a great recovery from Marc at the beginning of the race," said Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig. "He started in 20th and recovered almost ten positions in just a single lap, this was the Marc that we know.

"It shows his effort and the potential that he has, we are really looking forward to seeing him again in Austria after the summer break when he has recovered even further."

Puig added that while Sachsenring had been a special track where the eight-time world champion "grabbed his chance with both hands", he believes Marquez could have made it two podiums in a row without the Friday accident.

"Marc’s crash made the weekend even more complicated. Without that crash, I think he would have been fighting for the podium as he wouldn’t have lost the confidence he did," Puig said of the enormous highside later blamed on a traction control issue.

But while Marquez was able to make big progress in the race, team-mate Pol Espargaro gained only one position from eleventh on the grid.

"We were expecting a good race also from Pol Espargaro, we had high hopes honestly, but he had some issues too and it was really a pity after his strong weekend," said Puig.

All of which means Repsol Honda start the summer break with Marquez now the leading RC213V rider, despite missing the opening two rounds, with tenth place in the world championship, 106 points from leader Fabio Quartararo.

LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami is then tied on points with Espargaro for eleventh place with Alex Marquez in 15th.

“It has not been easy," Puig said of the opening half of the 2021 campaign. "Now part of our team will go back to their homes in Japan and first of all take some rest. It’s not easy for our Japanese staff members to spend all this time in Europe, far from their families.

"We have a huge amount of respect for their efforts and we believe a lot in our engineers. We have gathered a lot of good data during all these races, we know we have our weak points and in Japan they will investigate, work hard and come back with some promising ideas.”

Marquez and Espargaro raced with a new Honda chassis at Assen.