Marc Marquez has been riding amazingly over the last two MotoGP seasons and three races in 2014 still remain. On Sunday, it was Honda’s home round at the Motul Grand Prix at Motegi in Japan, where even after finishing second to Jorge Lorenzo; he could still retain his world championship title won in 2013. At the start of the race, Marquez had to ensure that he defeated team-mate Dani Pedrosa, lose not more than 3 points to Rossi and no more than 15 to Lorenzo. He achieved all that in style despite beginning at fourth on the grid. First, he overtook Pedrosa in the opening lap, passed Ducati pole winner Andrea Dovizioso before the halfway mark and had to only deal with Lorenzo and Rossi. With less than 10 laps remaining in the race, Marquez had a see-saw battle with Rossi before finally passing the legendary Italian to tag behind Jorge Lorenzo. At the end of the contest, however, Lorenzo emerged victorious and Marquez finished second. For Marquez, the result at Motegi held much less importance because; he had amassed enough points to be crowned the 2014 MotoGP world champion. It didn’t matter that three more MotoGP rounds still remain in 2014. For Jorge Lorenzo, it was a back-to-back top podium finish as he also won the Aragon MotoGP a fortnight earlier. Valentino Rossi was third behind Marquez, while half a second separated Dani Pedrosa from Rossi.
In the practice sessions earlier, Andrea Dovizioso became the second Ducati rider since 2010 to take the pole ahead of Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, who finished second, third, fourth and fifth respectively. The sixth to tenth places on the grid were taken by Andrea Iannone, Stefan Bradl, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Alvaro Bautista in the order of their names.
Marquez was unruffled by his fourth grid spot as he made a steady start. He was overtaken by Andrea Iannone in the opening corners, but quite shortly, Marquez left the Ducati rider behind and went after Rossi. Since Marquez was already ahead of Dani Pedrosa, Rossi was his next target with whom he had a mid-race tussle. The two riders swapped positions at several corners but finally, Marquez prevailed in a battle of wits. The Italian tried to hold on but Marquez was a shade better. Regardless, it is a huge credit that the veteran rider from Italy has kept himself on the track for a number of years now and won the World Championship title nine times in his career. After passing Rossi, Marquez challenged Lorenzo, who had been riding in front for most part of the race. Lorenzo was in no mood to give in and finished Motegi as the winner ahead of Marquez.
The second spot was enough for Marquez to clinch his second MotoGP World Championship and the fourth World Title. He has thus become history’s youngest rider ever to take consecutive premier class World Titles. Knowing his penchant for victory, Marquez will do his best to win the season’s final three races in Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.
Marquez was ecstatic after his world championship crown and said that rather than winning at Motegi, he was more focused on avoiding any mistake. For this reason, he didn’t try too hard to go ahead of Lorenzo at some of the corners that looked promising. Marquez admitted that mistakes at Misano and Aragon had made him cautious. Though Lorenzo rode to his second successive victory at Motegi, the race will only be known for Marquez being crowned as the world champion for the second year running. Behind Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi, Pedrosa eventually finished in fourth place, missing the podium narrowly. Dovizioso came fifth. The sixth to tenth places were taken by Andrea Iannone, Stefan Bradl, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Alvaro Bautista respectively.
Last year, Marquez had made history by taking 2013 world champion title in a tense battle with Lorenzo in the final race of the season. This year, however, he made a thunderous start by winning first 10 races of the season on a trot to dumbfound all his closest challengers. Having built a solid advantage, Marquez created four chances to win the 2014 title but he didn’t wait for the last three and finished the task at Motegi itself. He is not even 22 but Marquez has already won 17 of 32 MotoGP races, finishing on the podium 28 times. With just one win this season, he can equal the all-time record of 12 victories in a single season set by Mick Doohan in 1997. Before Marquez entered the MotoGP class, he won the 125cc title in 2010. In 2011, he overcame career threatening eye injuries and won the Moto2 championship in 2012.