On November 9, the irrepressible Marc Marquez completed his thirteenth victory of the 2014 MotoGP season and created history. Marquez had already won the world champion’s crown at the Japan MotoGP at Mortegi on October 12, when three races were still remaining in the MotoGP calendar. Later, he equaled the 17-year old world record of 12 victories in one season by the legendary Australian Mick Doohan in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on October 26. Therefore, in the season finale at Valencia Marquez had just one milestone to cross and that he did in style. The 21-year old Marquez won the last race of the year and achieved a new world record of 13 wins in one season. Marquez led from 11th lap on his Honda and finished ahead of another MotoGp legend Valentino Rossi and team-mate Dani Pedrosa. Unfortunately, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, strong contender for Rossi for second place in world championship race, could not finish.
In the qualifying on Saturday, Valentino Rossi claimed the 50th pole position of his illustrious MotoGP career but it was his first pole since May 2010 at Le Mans. In a late charge, Rossi pushed Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone to second spot and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa to third. Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo was fourth. Despite his unfortunate crash, where he lost the front-end of his bike, Marc Marquez finished fifth on the grid in qualifying. Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro was sixth, Bradley Smith seventh, Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow eighth, Andrea Dovizioso ninth and Stefan Bradl took the tenth place on the grid. There was some concern, when Marquez lost control of his bike and crashed in the gravel after setting a very rapid first sector time. But everyone was relieved to see Marquez walk away from the heap and complete the session.
The main race on Sunday began in wet conditions. Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone passed Rossi immediately and led the race for 10 Laps. Rossi was behind him and despite starting from fifth grid spot, Marquez covered his ground and fell behind Rossi. Dani Pedrosa followed Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo was on the fifth place. As the riders entered Lap 2, clouds became darker and drops of rain began falling. Though officials waved the white flag to allow the riders the option of coming in and swapping for a wet condition set-up, the threat of rain subsided and the riders continued with the race. In the next few Laps, Jorge Lorenzo dropped to the seventh place and two Ducati riders; Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow pushed ahead of the Spaniard. In a big push, Crutchlow overtook Pedrosa as well for a while. But after the early advantage, the Ducati duo receded to the fifth and sixth places in subsequent Laps. In the middle of Lap 10, Marquez first passed Rossi and began chasing Iannone and in 11th Lap, he overtook Iannone. Rossi also passed Iannone to take the second place behind Marquez. Iannone began losing his pace and Dani Pedrosa displaced him from the third position as well. It was now Marquez-Rossi-Pedrosa as 1-2-3 and this continued for most of the remaining laps. With 16 Laps remaining, Lorenzo passed Iannone. Around this time, light drizzle began and Lorenzo took caution and reduced speed. He fell back to the seventh place. With 11 laps left in the race, Iannone went to the pits for bike change and came out with wet condition set-up. Five laps later Lorenzo did like-wise but his decision to switch to wet tyres proved costly as he retired with 4 laps still remaining. On the front, however, Marquez kept his hold and reached the chequered flag ahead of Rossi in 46 minutes and 39.627 seconds. Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa finished third. Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow finished fourth and fifth. The sixth to tenth places went to Pol Espargaro, Aleix Espargaro, Stefan Bradl, Michele Pirro and Scott Redding. Valentino Rossi also took the second place in world championship ranking ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.
For the Marquez family, November 13 turned out to be a lucky day because earlier on the same day, Marc’s 18-year old younger brother Alex also clinched the Moto3 crown despite finishing third on race day. It was a motorcycling history of sorts. A double triumph by two people in the same family on a single day has never been recorded before. The people in the Spanish city of Cervera celebrated the great feats of their natives with great enthusiasm. The brothers were hoisted on a truck and paraded through the town streets. Both Marc and Alex finally addressed their supporters calling the day as a special occasion in their lives. They said their titles belonged equally to their natives in Cervera.
There could not have been another season in history, as exciting as 2014, which featured the dominance of one rider. At such a young age, Marc Marquez has already rewritten history. It is great pleasure to be watching him in action and with his earlier achievements, Marquez has etched his name as one of motor-sports’ all-time greats. If he wishes, the 21-year old can announce his retirement tomorrow and he will still remembered in the same vein as Hailwood, Rossi, Agostini, Doohan and Roberts. Thankfully, that’s not going to happen and more from Marquez is yet to come.