A section in the media calls Marc Marquez as a smiling assassin perhaps because behind that full and broad smiling face, Marquez hides a raw aggression, which shows on racing tracks. When the 18-year old Valentino Rossi won his first 125cc world championship in 1997, Marc Marquez most certainly might not have known about the achievement of the highly accomplished Italian rider because one cannot expect such knowledge from a 4-year old toddler. Marc was a bright kid but he still depended on his parents for all his basic needs. But Rossi had begun his riding career even earlier, when Marc could have been 3. The Italian also participated in 1996 season, in which he won just one race in the Czech Republic 125GP at Brno. But he blossomed into a champion rider in 1997 winning 11 out of 15 races to become the world champion in 125cc. 1997 was also a year in which the legendary Australian, Mick Doohan created a record of winning 12 MotoGP races in a single season. 17 years later, that record stands on the verge of being broken by Marc Marquez. The Spaniard has had a marvelous season this year, in which he has already won the MotoGP 11 times. With three more races remaining, Marquez is best placed to overtake Mick Doohan.
The toddler has since come of age and he is ruling the MotoGP world for the past two years, though he is still only 21 years old. Incidentally Rossi is now a 35-year old Italian veteran, who is still in the circuit and doing very well. In his most recent race at the Japanese GP, he finished third behind Marquez after being stretchered out at the dramatic Aragon GP in Spain in the earlier race. Rossi is also the 9-time world champion but he is matured enough to admit the fantastic racing abilities of the young Marquez. If the years of their birth are discounted, the two riders were born within a day of each other in February. While Rossi was born on 16th, Marquez a day later on 17th and their age difference is therefore exactly 14 years, save for that extra day.
Valentino Rossi was initiated into riding by his father, Graziano Rossi, who himself was a rider during 1977-82. Graziano scored three wins with last one being in the 1979 250cc Swedish Grand Prix. In contrast, Marc Marquez was not as lucky as Rossi in his childhood. He was born in a small Spanish village of Cevera, an hour’s drive to Barcelona and his working-class parents didn’t have the means to develop Marc into a champion. Seeing his passion for bikes, the best they could do was to buy a motorized bike for their 4-year old child. That probably sparked a passion in him and at the age of seven Marquez took part in his first competitive race. While his parents were content in making their son happy as a child, Marc’s hidden talent was recognized by an ex-125cc world champion Emilio Alzamora. Emilio worked for Monlau Competicien, an organization, which aimed at spotting and developing talented young riders. Emilio became Marquez’s manager and mentor and shaped the early stages of Marquez’s career until the boy made his 125cc debut at the age of 15 in 2008. Though he had a reduced season as a rookie rider, he still made it to the podium in his sixth race at Donington Park. In 2009, Marquez achieved another podium finish as a slightly more experienced rider. In 2010, at the age of 17, Marquez’s performance was so improved that he became the 125cc world champion, winning 10 out of 14 races of the season.
Marquez entered the Moto2 class in the 2011 season and despite a dodgy start, he was able to take the top spot in 7 races. But the Spaniard couldn’t take the world champion’s title in Moto2 as he suffered a crash during practice at Sepang and lost to Stefan Bradl to finish second. It was one big moment in Marquez’s life as the injury threatened to end his career even before it could take off. He had damaged a vital muscle, which controls one’s eyeball rotation and he began having vision problems. He couldn’t take part in the season-ending race in Valencia and many more events of the 2012 season. In January 2012, he was operated successfully and within two months, he was back on his bike. Fortunately, Marquez didn’t suffer from any psychological setback and stormed back to the track in great style with seven podium finishes out of his first eight races with the winner’s tag in four. (To be concluded)