Once every generation or so, in every sport, a phenomenal talent comes along who rewrites the ground rules. The establishment gets a shake-up, standards are raised, and only the very best can go with him. What usually happens next is a few years of total domination, until age takes its toll and the contest settles down again to an even keel.
There can be no doubt that is exactly what we saw in 2013 – the first part of it, anyway.
Marc Marquez is a once-in-a-generation motorcycle racer, and he proved it in his first MotoGP season, in every way possible. It was a record-breaking run of poles, rostrums and race wins culminating in the best “youngest-ever” achievement he could have hoped for: A World Championship at his first attempt.
The stature of the riders whose records he broke tell you everything: most of them belonged to Fast Freddie Spencer; and the only other rookie to win in the top class was King Kenny Roberts. Legends, both of them. Matched by a new legend in the making.
A list of his achievements runs from a full house of rostrums every time he finished to surviving the fastest-ever Grand Prix crash – he was still travelling at well over 200 mph when he jumped off his Repsol Honda at Mugello.
The way of accomplishing them was at maximum risk, displaying maximum skill. This was supposed to be a learning year for the reigning Moto2 World Champion, and so it was. Nobody could remember seeing such a fast learner. Imagine how he will be with one year’s experience.
To read more of the Rider of the Year feature, click here