Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) is now a six-time World Champion following a dramatic #FinalShowdown. Taking the MotoGP™ crown for the fourth time in five years makes it an 80% success rate for the rider from Cervera, who continues to work his way through the record books and has wrapped up title number six at Valencia. The end of 2015 saw Marquez lose the title of World Champion for the first and so far only time since moving to MotoGP™, 2016 saw the number 93 launch a controlled re-assault on the Championship and 2017 has seen that same control as he’s battled at the front, but with more scope to attack. Six wins before being confirmed as Champion make for good reading, before a podium to finish the year in the final round.
A 15-year-old Marquez made his debut in the World Championship in 2008, and although his rookie season was curtailed by injury, he made headlines by achieving a podium result at Donington Park. He picked up another podium result in 2009, before becoming 125 World Champion for the first time in 2010 – winning ten of the last 14 races of the year.
Moving into the Moto2™ class for 2011, Marquez had more difficult start to the season before going on an incredible winning run, taking seven wins to close down the once-large lead of title rival Stefan Bradl – including a podium in Phillip Island from P38 on the grid. A crash in practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix put a stop to his charge that season, however, and Marquez was forced to sit on the sidelines with serious problems with his eyesight. Not knowing whether the problem could be solved, Marquez had a tough off season with his career in doubt until surgery was able to correct the problem. Back on track for 2012, he then took the Moto2™ World Championship in style – including an impressive win from the back of the grid at the season finale.
Then it was graduation time and the reigning intermediate class Champion moved up to MotoGP™. On the podium in Qatar and winning his second Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Marquez became the youngest ever rider to clinch the premier class world title in MotoGP™, thanks to a truly amazing debut season. He also became the first rookie premier class World Champion for 35 years.
The 2014 campaign saw Marquez raise the bar as he took ten successive victories in the opening ten rounds of the season, and Marquez wrapped up the title in Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi for the first time – the home of manufacturer Honda. 2015 began well, with a win at the Americas GP and the number 93 looking to defend his crown. But too many crashes and points lost as the Yamaha charge of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo gained traction saw Marquez out of contention by the time the flyaways came around. A stunning win in Phillip Island saw Marquez back on the top step. After taking victory in one of the greatest races of all time, Marquez and Rossi then clashed next time out in Sepang. Valencia saw the rider from Cervera take another home podium in P2 to complete the year, ready to recharge over the winter and take back his crown from new World Champion Lorenzo.
The strategy was then changed for 2016, as Marquez rode to win a title rather than win the most races. That saw him take the crown at the home of Honda at Motegi – as he did in 2014. Wins in Texas, Argentina, Germany and Aragon saw the Spaniard 52 points clear ahead of the Japanese GP, and arriving there as the only rider to score in every race. 2017 hasn’t played out the same, but the result is the same: an incredible sixth crown.
Beginning the year off the podium at Qatar and then with a DNF in Argentina, Texas was where Marquez first gained some traction, taking his now customary pole and win. That was followed up with a podium at Jerez before what seemed like a disastrous third DNF of the season at Le Mans. After a tough Mugello that saw key rival Andrea Dovizioso take a stunning home win, Marquez then began a podium run until a mechanical issue at Silverstone, but included a win at Sachsenring and Brno. One of those races was a stunning duel at the Red Bull Ring versus Dovizioso, which will be penned into the history books. After Dovizioso won his fourth race of the year at Silverstone, Marquez struck back at Misano – and then again at Aragon. But his Italian rival was far from done, with another jaw-dropping duel lighting the fuse on the rivalry once more in the pouring rain at Motegi – which Dovizioso won.
Phillip Island saw Marquez extend his lead in the points in the Australian GP, and was yet another incredible showcase of the best of MotoGP™ as Marquez pulled away from the dogfight of the year. That set the number 93 up with his first chance at the crown next time out in Malaysia, but Dovizioso won in the rain as Marquez took fourth. It all went down to the wire, with the Italian needing a win and Marquez only to finish 11th or higher.
In that dramatic final race, Marquez almost crashed, saved a huge moment and then rejoined behind Dovizioso – but the Italian crashed out of contention in the race and Championship soon after. Then calmly able to regroup and take the flag in third, Marquez wrote another stunning chapter in both his own history and that of the sport he has pushed the boundaries of since since 2013, with four premier class crowns in five years.
SOME FACTS ABOUT MARC MARQUEZ
– Marquez is the youngest ever rider to win four premier class World Championship titles, at the age of 24 years 254 days, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 25 years 107 days when he won his fourth successive 500cc title in 1965.
– Marquez is also the youngest rider of all time to reach the milestone of six World Championships, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 25 years 244 days old when he won his sixth title in 2004.
– This is the sixth world title across all classes for Marc Marquez (4 x MotoGP, 1 x Moto2, 1 x 125cc); the only Spanish rider with more world titles than Marquez is Angel Nieto, who won thirteen world championship titles (7 x 125cc, 6 x 50cc).
– Marquez has stood on the top step of a podium on five or more occasions for the last eight years across the various GP classes, something achieved previously by only one other rider in the 69-year history of motorcycle Grand Prix racing: Giacomo Agostini.
– This is his fourth MotoGP™ title riding for Honda: the only rider who has won more premier class world titles riding for Honda is Mick Doohan, who won the 500cc title on five occasions.
– During 2017 Marquez has had more podiums than any other rider in the MotoGP™ class (twelve) and most pole positions (eight). He is equal on most wins with runner up Andrea Dovizioso (six each).