With eight world championships at 26, the Spaniard has awed the racing fraternity and is now the youngest ever to achieve this feat
Marc Márquez of Spain surpassed arch-rival Fabio Quartararo of France in the final turn of the final lap of Thailand GP to win the Thailand Grand Prix claiming his eighth MotoGP World title and sixth in the premier class. Márquez has earlier won the World Championship titles in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The 2019 victory makes him the youngest-ever to have eight world titles and has placed him alongside some of the greatest racers the world has ever seen.
Márquez came into the Grand Prix motorcycle racing as a 15-year-old trying to get along the elder rivals. He started with Repsol KTM 125cc in 2008 but had a very rough start. He did look promising, but the results stated otherwise. Two poor seasons to start with, and since then, no turning back. In 2010, he clinched five consecutive podium finishes for Red Bull Ajo Motorsport creating a buzz in the motorsport world.
He moved to the Moto2 class in 2011 – the first of an expected two-year deal – as the sole rider of the new team Monlau Competición. After initial hiccups, there was a phase where he won six of the seven races, and eventually finished the season in second place. He denied rumours of MotoGP transfer and continued with the same team.
In the 2012 Moto2 championships, Marquez had an intense battle with fellow Spanish rider, Pol Espargaró, throughout the season. Heading into the last race of the season, Valencia GP, he had already won the class world championships and started from 33 in the grid. He overtook 20 riders in the first lap itself and eventually won the race despite starting from the last. This was the biggest ever comeback in the sport's history.
Signed by the Repsol Honda Team in 2013, Márquez took the professional racing world by a storm. Seven seasons since then, six world championships already despite competing with some of the greats in Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Jorge Lorenzo and his latest rival, Andrea Dovizioso. Since competing at the premier class racing, Marquez has lost the world championships only once – to Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
The on-going season has been a phenomenal one and winning the championships with a handful of races to go has become a habit for the Spanish racer. Apart from crashing out from the lead in the American GP due to a problem with the engine brake, Márquez's worst races have been the Qatar GP, Italian GP, Dutch GP, Austrian GP and British GP – he finished second! In this regard, there was a sensation across social media – If Márquez doesn't crash, none is stopping him to win.
Championship rival, Dovizioso admitted the Honda rider's results en route to his sixth premier-class title were 'unbelievable'. Dovizioso added, "It's difficult to beat Marc. For everybody. You can see from the first year he is in MotoGP, he has been so strong, and apart from his speed, he's so smart. Year by year, he understood his limit and became better and better. This season he showed a lot of improvement because he did fewer mistakes, and in the races, he was always there, where in the past [that] didn't happen. My time will come."
Dovizioso is likely to finish runners-up for the third consecutive time and none better would understand how chasing Márquez on tarmac feels like. He still has to wait for his first championship after being stung by Márquez three consecutive times.
The Spaniard went on to shatter numerous records in the process. He now has the highest start-win percentage, surpassing Australian Mick Doohan's long-held record of 39.4 per cent.
Is this all he has? Ahead of the British GP in August, Márquez revealed that he would love to see what the reigning F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton can do and would also want a chance to measure up to him. It didn't take long for the Mercedez man to accept the dual – one race on an F1 car and another on a motorcycle. Now, a 'champion vs champion' battle between two greatest athletes of the motorsport world awaits.
Small wonder what he is capable of – indeed, Márquez is marvellous!