Motorcycle racing is terrifying

Imagine zipping around a racetrack at speeds of up to 220 mph with nothing but a leather suit and some thin padding between you and the pavement. MotoGP racing is like NASCAR without the car. There are safety measures in place to protect riders (like an electronically activated airbag system inside the racing suit) but the sport is still incredibly dangerous, even for the best in the world. 

Marc Marquez, who has won six of the past seven MotoGP championships, likely won’t be adding to his trophy case after breaking his arm in a scary crash this weekend in the first race of the season. 

Before the crash, Marquez ran an incredible race. Just four laps in, Marquez was leading when he lost control and skittered off into the gravel pit, but somehow managed to stay upright and get back on the track. 

Though the stumble dropped him back to 16th place, he had fought his way back to second just before the crash. With four laps remaining, Marquez lost control of his bike and went hurtling through the air at a tremendous rate of speed. When he hit the ground, the front tire of his motorcycle collided with his right arm, completely breaking his humerus bone. 

He’ll have surgery in Barcelona on Tuesday to correct the injury. 

It’s a miracle (and a testament to how talented a rider he is) that Marquez wasn’t injured more seriously in the crash. Motorcycle racing has to be the most dangerous sport in the world. The Wikipedia page for “Rider Deaths in Motorcycle Racing” is terrifyingly long. Just two weeks ago, 41-year-old rider Ismael Bonilla was killed in a crash at the very same track where Sunday’s race took place.

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