In July 2012, came the announcement that Marquez would join the Repsol Honda team in 2013 alongside Dani Pedrosa, a rider of immense capability. Waiting for 2013, Marquez continued his dominance of Moto2 in 2012. He won four more races, claimed the championship and signed off in style with a sensational victory at the season-ending event in Valencia. Beginning at 33rd in the field, Marquez kept overtaking whoever came on his way and finished on top.
When he first began the MotoGP season in 2013, most experienced observers felt that the Spaniard might require some time before he could find a foothold but the talented Marquez began impressively at Qatar and never looked back since. In his first season as the MotoGP rider, Marquez began with more pole positions, won more races, accumulated more points and recorded more number of fastest laps than any other rider in MotoGP history. In 2013, he looked like securing the title in Australia on October 20 but he suffered the ignominy of disqualification for failing to pit at the required time in a race that was shortened from 27 laps to 19.
In the next race in Japan, Jorge Lorenzo denied him the title and that meant that the title race could only be decided at Valencia. Lorenzo’s wins at Australia and Japan had reduced the points gap between the two top contenders. While Marquez still had 318 points, Lorenzo was tantalizingly close at 305. Marquez was relatively safer from a challenge by teammate Dani Pedrosa, who had 280 points. For a 20-year old, Marquez demonstrated the maturity beyond his years; fought tooth and nail and ensured that he didn’t commit silly errors. Despite finishing third behind Lorenzo and Pedrosa, Marquez still claimed the 2013 world championship in all-Spain finish. He had a lucky escape during a practice session at Italian MotoGP, when he fell from his bike at 175mph but got away with just a swollen chin. Marquez rode his luck on such hiccups and continued his dominance to finish the unbelievable first year in MotoGP.
Marc Marquez began 2014 in commanding style. He suffered an injury while training in Spain before the start of the season but seemed fit before the first race at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit. He took the pole and then won a great desert battle with the veteran Valentino Rossi. Over the next 9 races, Marc Marquez remained as a runaway winner to mark 2014 as the year in which he won 10 consecutive races. Accomplished MotoGP riders; Rossi, Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo did all they could but they couldn’t stop the ruthless Marquez. His opponents, however, had a glimmer of hope at Catalunya, when Marquez crashed out in the practice sessions and missed pole for the first time in 2014. But at the main race, Marquez was as unstoppable as ever, when he crossed the finish line half a second ahead of Rossi.
Despite his brilliant performances, Marquez remained as humble as ever. Whenever he was asked about his invincibility in the event, he chose to play it down and said that he had to be prepared for a day, when he couldn’t win. He attached more importance to winning the championship and said that winning every race was not his goal. Regardless, victories kept coming to him on his Honda RC213V machine. In Assen’s eighth race, Marquez faced some difficult conditions but he adapted well in the flag-to-flag contest and finished ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. In the ninth race at Sachsenring, conditions became tricky due to overnight rain. As the race began in the wet set up, the track began drying up quickly. While other riders found it difficult, Marquez showed why he was different as he won ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa. This was the last race before the summer break and Marquez had taken the top podium finish in all nine races. But more importantly, he was ahead of others by 77 points. In Indianapolis’ tenth race after the break, Marquez made it 10 out of 10 and increased his lead to 89 points. He joined Mick Doohan, who won 10 consecutive premier class races in 1997. At Brno, however, Marquez’s winning streak came to an end as he finished fourth behind Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi. However, he returned to record his 11th win of the season at Silverstone two weeks later. After that victory, Marquez had been unfortunate at Misano and Aragon where he suffered uncharacteristic crashes and finished 15th and 13th respectively. But his signifiicant 75-point lead ensured that he finished as the world champion at Motegi even after finishing second to Jorge Lorenzo.
With three races left in the season, Marquez is yet to complete some unfinished business. He needs one win to equal Mick Doohan’s 12 season victories and two to overtake him. For someone as committed as Marc Marquez, it doesn’t appear to be a big deal. (Concluded)
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