This weekend’s MotoGP Czech Grand Prix will be notable for the absence of the reigning world champion Marc Marquez for the second race in a row.
Marquez had to undergo a second operation on his broken right arm on Monday owing to stress damage on the titanium plate inserted in the first operation he had on the Tuesday after the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez last month.
Forced to miss the Andalusian GP the following despite an heroic attempt to return to action that weekend, Marquez’s absence from this weekend’s third round – the first of three events on the bounce with two Red Bull Ring races following – pretty much rules him out of the title fight for good this season.
Fabio Quartararo is the championship leader after back-to-back wins at Jerez, but – along with Yamaha rival Maverick Vinales in second in the standings – could face a tough weekend on an underpowered M1 at such a horsepower dependent track.
With Brno a track which should the Ducati, third-placed in the championship Andrea Dovizioso will need to capitalise on this – though whether he will be able to, given the problems he has had with the GP20 and the new rear Michelin tyre is another question.
With the Pramac Ducatis showing well at Jerez, Suzuki not delivering on pre-season promise and KTM yet to fully achieve its potential on the RC16, the door is ajar for others to step into contention this weekend.
On the latest Tank Slappers podcast, Autosport’s International Editor Lewis Duncan is joined by Motorsport.com’s Global MotoGP Editor Oriol Puigdemont to preview this weekend’s Czech GP.