Honda has confirmed Stefan Bradl will replace Marc Marquez in this weekend’s MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix, but hasn’t ruled out the champion returning for the second Red Bull Ring race.
Marquez broke his arm in a heavy crash during the Spanish GP at Jerez last month, which required an operation on the Tuesday after the race.
He tried to return for the Andalusian GP just a few days later, but had to abandon that after qualifying owing to increased swelling in his arm.
The stress of trying to be ready for that round weakened the titanium plate in his arm, and last Monday he needed to a second operation when he broke it opening a window at home.
The surgery was successful, but ruled him out of the Czech GP and was expected to keep him sidelined for the Austrian GP this weekend – which Honda boss Alberto Puig has now confirmed, though a return at the second Red Bull Ring race hasn’t been ruled out.
“We will have Bradl again this week in Austria on a different track such as the Red Bull Ring,” Puig said.
“We hope Alex [Marquez] will continue his growth, developing as a rider and taking steps forward.
“He has to understand the bike better and especially the tyres; he continues finding some problems to adapt to the new compounds, which makes things more difficult afterwards.
“With Stefan, we will assess in the coming days if we continue to test some new parts or what is the strategy that we prepare for this weekend from the technical point of view.”
Both Repsol Honda riders qualified on the back row of the grid in Brno, and with both LCR riders of Cal Crutchlow and Takaaki Nakagami 12th and 17th, it marked the first time in the MotoGP era no Honda rider qualified inside the top 10.
Bradl concluded his first race since last year’s Austrian GP out of the points in 18th, while team-mate Alex Marquez managed to secure one point in 15th.
After he finished seventh at Brno, Petronas SRT’s Fabio Quartararo currently leads the MotoGP standings on 59 points with Marc Marquez yet to score having suffered his injury in a crash in the opening race of the season.