Long before the 2016 MotoGP season ended at Valencia on November 13, Spain’s Marc Marquez had already won this year’s World Championship honors. The 23-year-old Marquez got lucky at Japan’s Motegi racing circuit on October 16, when his closest contenders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both crashed out. The Spaniard had only an outside chance of sealing the title but his win at Motegi gave him an unassailable 77-point lead over Italian Rossi. That gap could not have been bridged in successive races by any permutation and combination of victories by Rossi and Lorenzo. The exit of the Yamaha Movistar duo allowed Marquez to clinch the world championship with three races remaining.
Marc Marquez is already a phenomenon in motorcycle racing. He made his debut as a 125cc class rider in 2008 at the age of 15 and became the World Champion in 2010 as a 17 year old. That was the season, when Marquez recorded 10 victories in 14 races. He graduated to the Moto2 class in 2011 and had some tough time to start with. But after the initial hiccups, Marquez achieved an incredible winning run that including seven victories. But a crash during practice sessions at the Malaysian MotoGP forced Marquez to cede the title fight. However, he came back strongly in 2012 season and won the Moto2 World Championship. In 2013, Marquez moved on to MotoGP and had an amazing debut season before becoming the youngest ever MotoGP World Champion. Marquez could not be challenged in 2014 as he recorded 10 victories in the first 10 races of the season. In the 11th race at Brno, he was stopped by his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. Marquez missed a few more podiums but he was back on top at Silverstone and clinched the World Championship for the second year in a row at the Japanese MotoGP in Motegi just as he has done this year. Marquez began the 2015 season pretty well but too many crashes and good performances from Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi sent the double World Champion out of contention. However, Marquez controlled himself superbly in 2016 MotoGP season and his strong determination culminated in his third World Championship title.
On October 16, race leader Marc Marquez came to Japanese MotoGP at Motegi with a 52-point lead over second placed Rossi and it was possible for him win the world championship with three races remaining, provided Rossi finished below 14th place and Lorenzo below 4th place. That was asking for too much and Marquez knew it. He had no problem about waiting for the next race at Phillip Island in Australia. But the Yamaha Movistar duo literally handed the title to Marquez at Motegi by crashing out before the finish. Rossi had taken the top pole position but ended into the gravel on turn 10 early in the race. Jorge Lorenzo kept chasing Marquez for most part of the race but in trying to fend off the challenge from Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, the 2015 champion lost his front-end and crashed out on turn 9 with 5 laps remaining. With his closest contenders going out of the race, Marquez regained the World Championship that he won in 2013 and 2014.
It didn’t make any difference to Marquez that his bike crashed in the trackside gravel on the 9th lap at Phillip Island in the next race on October 23. Nor did it affect the Spaniard that he finished at no.11 on October 30 in season’s 17th MotoGP meeting at the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang. The last race of the 2016 season concluded at Valencia on November 13 and the already crowned Marquez finished second behind Jorge Lorenzo. Marquez doesn’t have the best machine in MotoGP but his riding skills and fine temperament take care of that. His latest achievement lends the Spaniard a unique distinction of being the youngest MotoGP rider to win three World Championship titles in four years after he won his first World Championship as the youngest man in 2013.