The Honda rider qualified on the front row for his comeback weekend at Le Mans and briefly led Sunday’s grand prix.
Marquez ultimately fought with Pramac’s Jorge Martin for second in the latter stages of the race, but crashed at Turn 6 on the penultimate tour while sitting in runner-up spot.
It means Marquez has yet to finish a grand prix in 2023 after crashing out in Portugal, which led to his three-round injury layoff.
Despite losing a podium, which he admits he was “maybe not ready” for, Marquez was elated with his grand prix as it was “a long time” since he felt that good in a race.
“Honestly, I’m very, very happy about the race today,” Marquez said. “It’s a shame we didn’t receive any good results with all the hard work we did. We crashed with one lap and a half remaining.
“But I was riding in a very good way. It was a long time ago that I was feeling like this myself – not with the bike.
“Myself, I was riding well, I was going into the corner with some sliding, I was braking late. I was able to fight against the other riders.
“I’m happy about that. Of course, I’m unhappy about the result, but maybe the only problem was the podium was close and maybe I was not ready to fight for the podium.
“But anywhere, I prefer to lose a race like this and not to finish in 10th position. I enjoyed it, but we need to keep working to improve for the future.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marquez says his crash started exiting Turn 6 when the Honda wobbled as he accelerated, which unsettled him in the braking zone for Turn 7.
Having finished fifth in the sprint race, Marquez says his weekend overall was exactly what he needed “to grow my confidence” again “because when you are in a difficult moment, it’s difficult to believe in yourself”.
Marquez raced with the new Kalex chassis in both the sprint and the grand prix, but once again reiterated that – while it is a clear improvement – it’s not a gamechanger, highlighting team-mate Joan Mir’s struggles at Le Mans on the same frame as proof that Honda must do more.
“Of course, the chassis is a small difference, but it’s not the solution,” he said about the Kalex frame. “Mir was using the chassis and Mir is a world champion, and you saw he was struggling, he was in the back and he crashed again.
“So, we need to change something for the future to be more competitive, to be more safe because every year all the Honda riders we are in the top ranking of crashing.
“It’s not only me; Mir crashed three, four times in Jerez, here three times. So, we need to keep working with the team to improve.”