Márquez: ‘This surgery wasn’t for pleasure – this is to win’

Márquez: ‘This surgery wasn’t for pleasure – this is to win’

Can you imagine Marc Márquez living a calm life? The series is a whirl of racetracks, team meetings, team dinners, surgeons, consultations rooms, hospital wards, gyms full of torture gear, training on bicycles, training on motorbikes, private jets, hanging with his gang at the brothers’ Le Corbusier-style mansion in Madrid and lots of pain and moments of dark thoughts.

After the fourth operation on his arm, in June last year, he’s wheeled out of surgery, still drugged up to the eyeballs, with all his power gone, his fire extinguished, like Samson shorn of his locks. He lies there weak, like you’ve never seen him, defeated like you’ve never seen him, his face greyish green, his voice little more than a croak.

No wonder there are times when even Márquez decides that it isn’t worth it, that he may as well retire. His fire becomes nothing more than a pile of dying embers, then it’s raging again, like someone threw petrol at it.

And every time he reaches the crossroads where most people would turn towards a comfortable life as a retired hero, Márquez goes the other way and comes back for more.

A heavily sedated Márquez following last June’s osteotomy, during which American surgeons cut and rotated his broken arm by 40 degrees

TMS, Red Bull, Dorna

When he talks about when he was going to quit – because what’s the point of continuing if you’re in pain and can’t ride at 100%? – he twice wells up, stops talking, only just holds back the tears and finally continues with a voice cracked by emotion.

Like many racers, Márquez would struggle to find life worth living without the kick of several hundred horsepower up his backside and the joys of waging war on the racetrack.

Most racers are the same. For a while. I only had one bad injury when I raced – ten days on my back after mashing up a knee. It was horrible. I’d just started really having fun in my life, had a nice girlfriend, a bit of money. I was missing life, missing my mates, missing going down the pub, missing having a laugh. I didn’t want to be in that place again, so for my last couple of years in racing I knocked the throttle back a degree or three, never quite enjoying it as much, because I knew I wasn’t throwing my life into it: death or glory!

And then there’s Márquez: hundreds of crashes, one at over 200mph, innumerable injuries, a dozen or two operations, some of them big ones, and yet he still wants it and will twist the throttle as far as it goes.

His desire is astonishing and he needs everyone else’s to be the same, which is why he’s lucky to have brother Alex and a tight-knit support crew around him. The doc doesn’t record his meeting with senior HRC management at last year’s Austrian GP, but he tells us what he told them, “I want to get back to the top with you. But if it’s not with you, I will find a way”. And, while revealing the ugly scar on his upper right arm, he told them, “This wasn’t for pleasure – this is to win”.

Márquez tells friend and assistant José Luis and new manager Jaime Martínez (right) what he told HRC management during their meeting last August

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The doc doesn’t only highlight his comeback. Márquez admits that on the racetrack, he’s “an asshole”. Smash cut to his crew chief Santi Hernandez, giggling, “He said it!”.

To me, Márquez has always been the Ayrton Senna of motorcycle racing, prepared to win by any means necessary.

“If you no longer go for a gap that exists you are no longer a racing driver,” said the three-time Formula 1 champion.

“I have a racer, killer, winner, mentality. I like risky!”

In fact, to me, the best motorcycle racers go for gaps even when they don’t quite exist and make them exist, just as Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli, Márquez and all the other riders that look for an edge beyond the edge happily do. This doesn’t always require bumping and barging, it can be good old-fashioned intimidation: you show your rival your front wheel and if he knows how far you’re prepared to go, he’ll make way for you. It’s a nasty business, always has been.

“I have a racer, killer, winner, mentality,” says Márquez. And, “I like risky!”. Just in case you hadn’t worked that out already.

Like George Orwell, the author of 1984, wrote: “Sport is war without the shooting”.

Márquez also talks about 2015 – MotoGP’s most infamous days – as well his relationships with Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Marc Marquez has mean with his family in new documentary

Márquez’s granddad has just told him he needs to retire and start living a calm life – Márquez, his brother and mum are in hysterics!

TMS, Red Bull, Dorna

He was always going to fall out with Rossi. They were too similar and they were both chasing the same thing. Márquez’s mum reveals that after Sepang 2015 she cleared all the Rossi miniatures from his bedroom and put them in a box, which soon disappeared. I wonder where they went: were they chucked in the bin or burned on a ceremonial fire? I must ask the next time I see him.