Runaway MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez added another piece of history to his resume ahead of the this weekend's British motorcycle Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The winner of the first 10 races of the 2014 season became the first person in history to ride a motorised vehicle across London's Millennium Bridge on Wednesday as part of a demo for broadcaster BT Sport.
Local workers watched on from their office balconies and the general public descended on Southbank for the special occasion, as did British riders Bradley Smith, Michael Laverty, Leon Camier, Sam Lowes, Danny Kent and John McPhee, who helped put on a show completed with the obligatory doughnuts to promote this weekend's race at home of British motorsport.
As for the Catalan world champion Marquez, he swapped his paella for traditional Fish & Chips served in newspaper as part of a day's activities in the nation's capital and commenting afterwards made a pun about another thing Britain is famous for.
“It was really nice to become the first ever person to cross the Millennium Bridge on a motorbike,” Marquez smiled. “This event was really important for MotoGP ahead of the British Grand Prix and we were very lucky with the weather - I normally expect rain in England! So to be here in the centre of London on such a bright day, riding over the River Thames and making history was a memorable experience.
Known for his flat-out style of racing, the Honda rider was just as keen to explore the limits crossing a bridge over the River Thames as he will be through the high-speed corners at Silverstone this weekend.
"The slippery metal surface of the bridge did not make it easy," he explained, "but I went as fast as I could!”
Test of character
For all the smiles in London, this weekend's race marks a key test of character for the 21-year-old.
Marquez recently suffered his first loss of the season at the Czech Grand Prix at Brno, where he finished fourth, as team-mate Dani Pedrosa took his first win of the year keeping Honda's chances of winning all 18 races in 2014 alive even if Marquez won't.
While the defending champion still holds a commanding lead in the standings it will be interesting to see how his first defeat will impact the still young Spaniard.
Throughout the year he has looked in a class of his own crushing riders like Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and the legend Valentino Rossi with flawless ride after flawless ride.
Now that the streak has been broken, however, will his rivals still consider Marquez as imperious as before?
Another thing to consider is Marquez's record at Silverstone. Last year the Spaniard had to fight through an injury caused by a big crash at Stowe in the morning warm up, he would produce a brilliant performance to finish second to Lorenzo in the race, but throughout his entire racing career has only won once at the British track in the 125cc class in 2010.
Does that mean it is a weak track for Marquez? Well with three pole positions and two other podiums along with his solitary win it is hard to say as such but it may give some hope to those around him.
Lorenzo's second home
For the questions over Marquez's record at Silverstone, Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo has a near perfect record at the Northamptonshire track.
Since taking over from Donington Park as the host venue in 2010, the Spaniard has only failed to win once in four races at Silverstone and that was when he retired from the race in 2011.
Marquez leads Friday practice
On Friday, the action got underway with the opening two practice sessions and it was Marquez who laid down the marker for the rest to chase.
The Catalan was half a second clear of German Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda posting a 2:02.169 in the afternoon with Andrea Dovizioso third for Ducati.
Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa was only ninth as the two Yamaha's eased their way into the weekend as Lorenzo was only 11th with Rossi two places behind in 13th.
Of the British contingent Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith was fourth quickest with Scott Redding an impressive sixth on the customer Honda.
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