Lisbon – Marc Marquez is a six-times MotoGP world champion but he admitted he had butterflies in his stomach ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix when he returns to the track for the first time since last year’s season-ending crash.
Marquez fractured his upper arm in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix in July and did not race again all year.
The 28-year-old Repsol Honda rider also missed the opening two races of this season in Qatar.
“My confidence is not high, I have to start step by step. This is my pre-season,” Marquez told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s true I’m nervous, I have butterflies in my stomach which is not normal… But the Japanese staff really motivated me and told me, ‘Don’t worry, there’s no target’.
“It was a difficult decision not to race in Qatar because I was feeling ready but not 100%.”
Marquez may not have ideal conditions on his return, however, with rain expected this weekend.
“I won’t want to ride the first time in a long time in rainy conditions. But if it rains, we will ride,” Marquez added.
Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who is third in the standings, welcomed back his Spanish compatriot after nine months on the sidelines.
“As a rider, staying away for a year is very difficult. Our way of enjoying life is riding the bike,” said Vinales, who won the season opener in Qatar.
“On the track we’re rivals but off the track we have a good laugh and it’s good to have all the riders here.” — Reuters