On Sunday, Spaniard Marc Marquez became the youngest MotoGP champion in history, as the Honda rider finished third in Valencia .
The 20-year-old also became the first rookie since Kenny Roberts back in 1978 to claim the title at his first attempt.
It completes the rise of Marquez who won the 125cc and Moto2 categories before moving up to the premier series for 2013, and many believe the success of Marquez could now lead to another Rossi-style era of dominance. However, despite becoming champion, is he really the new king on two wheels?
Certainly it’s hard to deny Marquez is one of a rare breed of racers, to achieve all he has at 20 is just mind-blowing, particularly beating the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. Indeed the fact he was able to beat Lorenzo when, after such a dominant 2012, it looked as if he may become an unstoppable force in the sport just highlights what an achievement it is.
From the start Marquez proved he was ready for the big time, unafraid to take on the biggest names, he proved this against Lorenzo at Jerez in the final corner clash and Valentino Rossi in that amazing move at the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca.
Marquez also was able to take tracks where Honda were strong and capitalize, his maiden win at the Circuit of the Americas was the first real sign he meant business though it wasn’t a surprise as he had dominated testing there a few weeks prior.
He also made the best of situations which were not in his favour, indeed in his first wet race at Le Mans in France it would have been very easy for Marquez to have been too aggressive and likely crash out, however as those around him did, he simply took advantage of situations and finished third.
It was the same in Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, after a big crash at Stowe in the warm up doubts were raised over whether he would race, however he did participate and in another remarkable display he finished second.
Marquez would also receive a major blow in the championship losing 25 points to Lorenzo after being disqualified at the Australian Grand Prix for not pitting before lap 10 in a tyre-disrupted race.
Despite all his successes however there are a few areas Marquez could count himself lucky.
With so much competition between himself, Lorenzo and Pedrosa no-one was able to truly runaway at the front as all the riders shared victories and other podium finishes.
However after crashes, for Lorenzo in Assen as well as he and Pedrosa in Germany, both were forced to miss the Sachsenring race, presented with this opportunity Marquez took full advantage not only winning in Germany, but also the next three races at Laguna Seca, Indianapolis and Brno.
While both Lorenzo and Pedrosa raced at those three races both were much less competitive at Laguna Seca and finished on the podium behind the Spaniard at the other two.
By the British Grand Prix then Marquez had pulled out a substantial lead in the championship, from then on it was a case of protecting his lead rather than race for wins.
However inexperience did continue to show, particularly at Aragon as he out-braked himself into turn 12 just touching the rear of Dani Pedrosa, that damaged the sensor on Pedrosa’s bike causing his traction control to cut out and the Spaniard lost control on the exit.
There is a balanced argument then for whether Marquez has set the new benchmark standard for MotoGP given the reasons mentioned, I for one believe he is now the man everyone has to beat however it is what he has done in revitalised the sport and that also impresses.
He is the first of a new generation and after the ominous signs of Lorenzo domination after 2012 it is great to know the Mallorcan will not have it all his own way.
It also launches a great new rivalry which will continue for years to come Marquez and Lorenzo had some great battles this year most notably in Jerez and Sepang and they will just be start of the battle that could lead MotoGP for the next decade.
As he continues to improve there is a risk the Catalan may start dominating but for now lets enjoy the Marquez-factor before we potentially enter the Marquez era.
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