The six-time MotoGP champion, who has delivered three standout moments since his return – pole at Motegi, a podium at Phillip Island and a front row at Sepang when Honda was in serious trouble – was much closer to the Marquez we saw before suffering from his right shoulder injury at Jerez in 2020.
It looked like Marquez would miss Q2 during qualifying at Sepang, before single-handedly leading Jack Miller into second by a brilliant lap.
The Repsol Honda rider repeated that effort minutes later in Q2 despite seeing series leader Francesco Bagnaia crash out of qualifying just ahead of him.
While his race pace wasn’t enough to challenge for the podium, Marquez held on for a very solid seventh.
Speaking of his physical condition, with only one round of the year to go, Marquez added: “I am very happy with my physical condition. Step by step I feel better and better, step by step I can play more with the bike and step by step I can better cope with the problems of the bike.
“This was something I haven’t been able to do for the past two years. I’m very happy with this.”
Right arm still not working ‘perfectly’ for Marquez after MotoGP return
Despite the positive signs, Marquez has admitted that he is still a long way from the level he wants and needs to be consistently competitive.
Marquez, who saw all sorts of shapes on the bike during qualifying last weekend to get to the position he did, joked that he wanted to see what his posture looked like before going on to say his body balance is “not perfect” on Gift.
“I don’t know! I want to see these pictures,” Marquez laughed. “But I still don’t have the right strength. The muscle still doesn’t work the best way on the right arm.
“It still doesn’t work perfectly. Get the most out of this arm this winter, but in the hard braking points I still have to find the way to [the correct] body balance.
“Yet my body balance is not perfect and it is still a job we have to do this winter.”