Marc Marquez’s path to 7 titles

Article courtesy Honda, images Honda & Michelin:

First Steps

On 17 February 1993, a future champion was born in Lleida, Spain. Marc has always lived in Cervera, a small town near the capital of the province where he resides with his parents and brother Alex.

At age 4, Marc asked for a motorbike for Christmas, and with the aid of training wheels, he had his first riding experience, going with his father to an industrial area near their house. In 1998, when he was 5, he participated in the Enduro for Kids, in the Initiation category. He would have preferred to race motocross, but there wasn’t a class for kids his age at the time.

In 1999, his father bought him a second-hand 50cc off-road pocket bike, on which he continued to enjoy enduro and also began in motocross. In 2000, although he continued competing in enduro, he was also runner-up in the Catalan Motocross Championship, and in 2001, he took another step forward and won the Catalan Championship of the Initiation motocross category.

From dirt to tarmac (2000-2007)

In 2002 Marc finished third in the Conti Cup, a road racing series promoted by the Catalan Motorcycling Federation. He continued competing in motocross but began shifting his focus to road racing. Marc changed to the big circuits in 2003 by taking part in the Open RACC 50, a six-race Catalan Championship, and he won the title with an overwhelming performance in his first year.

In 2004 Marc jumped to the 125cc class with a Honda 125 GP. He signed for the RACC Impala team, with Pol Espargaró as his teammate. After six races he took the runner-up position behind his teammate.

The 2005 season was an important one for Marc, as it was then that he met Emilio Alzamora, 1999 125cc World Champion with Honda. During that season, Marc won the 125cc Catalan Championship, as well as the 85ccCatalan Supermotard Championship. The following year, 2006, he repeated the Catalan triumph, and at the same time made his debut in the Spanish Road Racing Championship (CEV), where he achieved an eighth overall position.

In 2007 he again participated in the CEV, this time with KTM, but several crashes prevented him from taking a better position than ninth overall. Nonetheless, Alzamora had a surprise in store: the next year Marquez would be a part of the big World Championship family.

World Championship Debut (2008)

Marc’s debut in the Motorcycle Road Racing World Championship was with the Repsol KTM Team at the 2008Portuguese Grand Prix in Estoril because an ill-timed pre-season crash resulted in a fracture of his right arm, preventing him from being on the starting grids for the first two races. In his sixth race, the British Grand Prix, he was able to set a milestone in motorcycling history taking third position, becoming the youngest rider ever to make it onto a World Championship podium. He finished his rookie season in 13th position overall, despite having missed four races due to injury.

In 2009, again sporting the number 93 on his Repsol fairing to celebrate the year he was born, Marc demonstrated the talent that had impressed everyone. Riding for the official KTM team, he took his second podium in Jerez and, at the French Grand Prix, became the second-youngest rider ever to take pole position in the World Championship. Afterward, despite being among the top group on several occasions, he suffered some bad luck and crashes but still finished nearly all of the races in the top five.

First GP win and first World Championship Title (2010 – 125cc)

 In 2010, Marc decided to join the Ajo Motorsport team riding a Derbi, and from the pre-season, he set a record pace, adapting well to his new bike and team.

In the first race in Qatar, Marc took pole position and followed that up with a podium finish. He crashed out on the first lap of the following race in Jerez after his bike’s exhaust system broke, but he once again reached the podium in France, and two weeks later, on 6 June 2010, he took the first victory of his career, at Mugello. He went on to win the following four races consecutively—Silverstone, Assen, Catalunya and Sachsenring—setting pole position at each one. Some ups and downs after the summer break interrupted Marc’s winning streak, but another victory in San Marino and then another series of four consecutive wins in Motegi, Sepang, Phillip Island and Estoril meant that the title would be decided in Valencia in a duel between two Marc and Nico Terol. Marc could count on an advantage of 17 points in the standings and in the race he uncharacteristically avoided entering the battle for victory; his fourth-position allowed him to reach the finish line celebrating the title. He was the 2010 125cc World Champion at 17, after taking 10 victories and 12 pole positions.

Runner-up in Moto2 in his first year (2011)

After winning the title, the natural next step for the young rider was to move to Moto2 in 2011, so Marc joined a team created especially for him, boasting engineers and mechanics with experience in Moto2 and MotoGP. After suffering three crashes in the first four races, he got to grips with the class and, at the French GP, announced his arrival as a serious title contender. He won at Le Mans and took second at Montmeló but one race later he suffered another crash while fighting for the win at the British GP. This was the final blip before a huge comeback, in which he picked up three consecutive wins (Assen, Italy and Germany), one second place (Brno), a further three wins on the bounce (Indianapolis, San Marino and Aragón) and another second place (Motegi). There was still to be another amazing comeback in 2011, this time at the Australian GP. After being penalised for an infraction in Free Practice and sent to the 38th spot on the grid on Sunday, he overtook 35 rivals to take the last spot on the podium and reduce his standings deficit to just three points. At that point, he had recovered 82 points on Championship leader Stefan Bradl, but a crash in FP1 for the Malaysian left him unable to compete in the final two events, forcing him to concede the title, though his seven wins, three second places and one third place earned Marc the Rookie of the Year honour and a creditable runner-up spot in the Moto2 World Championship.

Moto2 World Champion (2012)

The start of the 2012 season was not easy for Marc, as he missed almost the entire pre-season while recovering from the injury he had sustained in free practice for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Marc had experienced double vision following the crash, and after three months passed with no improvement, he opted to have surgery on 16 January 2012. He was treated for paralysis of the upper right oblique muscle, caused by trauma to the fourth right cranial nerve. The operation was a success and he recovered in time for the Qatar Grand Prix, the first race of 2012. He did not disappoint, taking the win in the desert, showing that he was fully recovered and ready to push for the title. That victory was followed by a second-place finish in Jerez and another win in Portugal before he crashed out of a wet Le Mans GP. That small blot on his record was followed by nine podiums from 12 races: eight wins (in Qatar, Portugal, Holland, Germany, Indianapolis, Czech Republic, San Marino and Japan), two runner-up finishes (Catalunya and Great Britain) and two third places (Jerez and Aragon). Rain again caught Marc out at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Three laps into the race, the Repsol rider crashed out. Fortunately, the advantage gained at the preceding races allowed for him to clinch the crown just one week later in Australia, where he was crowned Moto2 World Champion.

MotoGP World Champion (2013)

There were huge expectations for what Marc could achieve in his first season in MotoGP, and he immediately demonstrated that he was able to battle with the elite of the class. After a strong pre-season winter test, the young Spaniard scored his first podium in the first race, in Qatar. In Austin on 21 April 2013, he set the pole and recorded his first MotoGP win in just his second race, becoming the youngest ever rider to win a premier-class GP, at the age of 20 years, 63 days, taking the record from Freddie Spencer (20 years 196 days -Belgium 500cc GP at Spa-Francorchamps – 1982). Marc arrived at round three in Jerez leading the Championship and took second behind teammate Dani Pedrosa. In France, he took the pole on Saturday and claimed a remarkable podium on Sunday—racing a MotoGP bike in the wet for the first time—but at the following GP in Italy, he lost the front and crashed out from second with just three laps remaining in the race. Marc shrugged the incident off and returned to the podium at the next round in Catalunya, taking third.

In Assen, title rival Jorge Lorenzo fractured his collarbone on Thursday and Marc also suffered a big crash in Friday’s FP3, breaking a finger and toe. Incredibly, Lorenzo underwent surgery on Friday and returned to race to a fifth-place finish, while Marc also overcame his injuries by scoring an important second-place finish.

In Germany, he dominated the race and regained the Championship lead as his two main rivals, Lorenzo and teammate Pedrosa, were forced to sit out the race after crashing in practice. Marc continued this run of success, winning at Laguna Seca—becoming the first rookie to win there in the premier class and becoming the youngest rider to win back-to-back premier-class races, at the age of 20 years, 154 days, taking another record from Freddie Spencer (21 years 104 days – South Africa and France GPs – 1983). He won again in Indianapolis, becoming the first premier-class rookie to win three back-to-back races since Kenny Roberts in 1978 (Austria, France and Mugello).

Marc took his fourth win in a row at Brno, becoming the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2008 to win four or more successive races in the premier class and also the youngest rider to have won four successive premier-class Grand Prix races.

In Silverstone, Marc crashed in the Sunday morning warm-up, dislocating his left shoulder, but fortunately he was able to ride and, after starting from pole, managed to take second place. This marked his 50th podium finish, which at the age of 20 years, 196 days, made him the youngest rider to reach this milestone, taking the record from Dani Pedrosa, who was 21 years, 162 days old when he stood on a GP podium for the 50th time. Two weeks later in Misano, Marc secured his sixth pole position of the season and took second in the race. In Aragón a minor contact between the two Repsol Honda teammates resulted in the rear-wheel speed-sensor cable on Dani’s bike breaking, launching the Spaniard into the air. Marc ran wide but remained unaffected and chased down Lorenzo to take his sixth win of the season.

The team remained focused and united and had another fantastic weekend in Malaysia with a 1-2 finish, Marc placing second behind Dani but in front of Lorenzo. One week later in Australia, tyre issues for all the riders dictated a new race distance of 19 laps, with at least one mandatory pit stop to change bikes. Riders were not permitted to complete more than 10 laps on any rear tyre, but Marc entered the pits before crossing the line to complete lap 11 and was shown the black flag after he re-joined the race. The team had wrongly understood that he was allowed to complete 10 laps and come back in before completing lap 11. Nonetheless, Marc and his crew moved on from this as they headed to Japan for the last of the three flyaway races. The Japanese GP was strongly affected by adverse weather conditions, resulting in no track action at all on Friday, just an extended 75 minute wet qualifying session on Saturday afternoon and a 45 minute free-practice session on Sunday morning. With less than one hour on a dry Motegi track with the MotoGP machine, Marc settled for second place behind Lorenzo, meaning that heading to the season-ending Valencia GP, just 13 points were separating the two countrymen. Back in Spain, Marc set the fastest times in FP1, FP2 and FP3 before taking his ninth pole of the season. On Sunday he rode a mature race and took a safe third, securing his first MotoGP World Championship in his maiden season.

Back-to-back MotoGP Championships (2014)

Marc broke his leg during training after the first 2014 Sepang test and missed the second Sepang test as well as the test at Phillip Island. He arrived in Qatar for round one with just three days on the bike but took pole in qualifying and won the race after an epic battle with Rossi.

In Austin the young Spaniard led every session and won the race. In Argentina, he led all sessions apart from FP1 and again won the race. With three in a row, Marc was on a roll. He continued his dominance to the season’s midway point, winning in Germany, and then made it 10 out of 10 with an Indianapolis win after the summer break. However, he couldn’t quite manage 11 out of 11 and in Brno, teammate Dani took the victory with Marc finishing fourth.

He was back on top in Silverstone for round 12 but then came two difficult races; in San Marino, while chasing Rossi in the early laps, Marc made an error and low-sided. He managed to get the bike restarted and took an important single Championship point for his 15th place finish. Two weeks later in Aragón he dominated FP3 and FP4 and took pole position. The race began with a fantastic battle between Marc, Dani and Lorenzo, but when late rain arrived to spoil the show, Marc and Dani both crashed out. They were able to return to pit lane and change the bike, but with just two laps remaining, it was too late; Marc finished 13th and Dani 14th.

Marc arrived in Japan with a 75 point margin, meaning that he would seal the title if he finished in front of Dani and lost no more than three points to Rossi and 15 to Lorenzo. It was a closely fought race, as Marc battled with Rossi, who would not give up the fight easily. Iin the end, Marc was able to control the gap behind Lorenzo and finish in front of Rossi and Dani. His second-place Motegi finish and the 20 points that accompanied it delivered him his second and successive MotoGP World Championship, becoming the first Honda rider to clinch a World title—in any class—at the Motegi circuit. He also became the youngest ever rider to win two consecutive premier-class World Championships at the age of 21 years, 237 days, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 23 years, 152 days when he won his second successive 500cc title in 1963.

A challenging season (2015)

The 2015 season was Marc’s third in MotoGP, and it proved to be more difficult than previous years. During the first race, at Losail Circuit, he ran wide in turn 1 and had to make a great recovery to finish in fifth position. He got back on top in Texas but in Argentina he hit his first “zero” of the six that he would eventually tally over the course of the season. With two laps remaining in the race, Marc and Rossi were jostling for first place when they touched, and as they picked the bikes up, Rossi’s rear wheel collected Marc’s front sending the Spaniard to the ground.

Marquez produced a stellar performance at the GP of Spain to close the gap in the Championship with a well-earned second place, but thereafter Le Mans, Mugello and Catalunya comprised a challenging period. He just managed fourth in France but suffered two more zeros in Italy and Catalunya.

Assen marked another important point during the year. Marc, who had been tailing Valentino for 19 laps, made his move with seven laps remaining, taking the lead. With just three laps to go, a small mistake in the last chicane allowed Rossi to pass him and try to open up a gap. Marc recovered four tenths of a second to Valentino in the last lap and made his move into the last chicane on the final lap. The two riders touched briefly but Valentino was able to pick the bike up, riding through the gravel trap, beating Marc to the finish line.

Marc sealed a perfect weekend in Germany, recording a new race-lap record en route to victory, following his pole-position record, and he won again in Indianapolis. With these two consecutive victories, he was able to reduce his gap to 56 points behind Rossi. Starting from second on the grid in Brno, Marc held his position behind pole man Jorge Lorenzo from the beginning to the chequered flag. Unfortunately, in Silverstone he crashed out at turn one while fighting for the lead in the rain during an accident-filled race.

At Misano—one of just three active circuits where he had not previously won in the premier class (along with Motegi and Phillip Island)—the Repsol Honda rider returned to victory in varying weather, following two bike changes.

Marquez arrived in Aragon 63 points behind Rossi, but then crashed out in turn 12, ending his title hopes.

Marc only managed to come home fourth in the wet Motegi race, but he took an incredible victory at the next round, in Australia. The race began at a rapid pace, with Lorenzo, Iannone, Marc, Dani, Rossi and Crutchlow leading the way. Lorenzo pushed at the front, trying to open a gap as the other riders jostled for position behind him throughout the race. With just two laps to go, Marc dropped down to fourth but never gave up hope, passing Rossi for third on the penultimate lap and making up two more places on the final lap (the fastest lap of the race). Marquez took the victory by just 0.249 seconds over Lorenzo. It was the 50th victory in Marc’s career and his first at Phillip Island in the MotoGP class.

In Malaysia, Marc was involved in an incident with Valentino Rossi and crashed out on lap five. Dani made a strong start, and as he took control at the front, Marc and Rossi fought fiercely for third place behind Lorenzo. Rossi led Marc on lap five, and as they exited turn 13 with Marc on the outside, Rossi slowed and Marc crashed out of the race.

Marc concluded the 2015 season with a second-place finish in the Valencia GP and finished the year in third overall.

#GiveMe5 (2016)

The 2016 season positively proved that Marc is a fast learner. He approached his fourth MotoGP campaign with a new mentality, vowing that he would fight for the win or the podium when possible and would minimize the damage when the odds were against him. Consistency was the key to a season for which the introduction of unified electronics and a switch from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres shook the field up and made the racing more unpredictable than ever.

After a demanding preseason that produced mixed results for the Repsol Honda Team, Marc started the Championship in a positive way, climbing the third step of the podium at the season opener in Qatar. In Argentina Marc and the team took their revenge on the 2013 Australian mix-up, scoring an awesome victory in another tyre-issue-affected race that—despite taking place in dry conditions—was run in a flag-to-flag format with a compulsory stop to change motorcycles. One week later he scored his fourth successive Austin win from pole, making it his 10th victory in a row on American soil. With this success, Marc also overtook Kevin Schwantz in number of victories in the premier class, with 26.

Back in Europe for the first race on home turf, Marc realized that trying to win was too risky and wisely settled for third behind title rivals Rossi and Lorenzo. In France he wasn’t able to avoid crashing on lap seven while fighting for second but re-joined the race in last place and finished 13th. The Italian GP was a first important turning point in the season, as Rossi retired with an engine failure. Marc engaged Lorenzo in a spectacular duel for victory on the final lap, and he lost it at the line by a mere 19 thousandths of a second. The Catalan GP two weeks later dealt a cruel blow to the riders and the whole MotoGP movement, as 24-year-old Moto2 Spanish rider Luis Salom lost his life after crashing during the second free practice. The event continued in accordance with the wishes of Salom’s family, and Marc and Dani both finished on the podium, in second and third respectively, in the race that won by Rossi, with Lorenzo retiring after being involved in a race incident.

Two weeks later, the Dutch TT was red-flagged due to heavy rain. Marc got off well on the second start but ran wide and dropped back to third behind Dovizioso and Rossi; after the two Italians fell ahead of him and with Lorenzo back in 10th place, Marc gave up a fight for the victory with fellow Honda rider Jack Miller, in order to avoid the risk of throwing away a vital second-place finish. Bad weather continued to affect the action during the next race in Germany, halfway into the season. Following an earlier downpour, the young Spaniard was struggling on a surface that was drying progressively and dropped back to ninth place after swerving off the track, but he never lost his nerve and changed to slick tyres before everyone else, beginning an incredible recovery from 14th position to take his seventh win in a row at the Sachsenring Circuit. The result was Marquez heading into the summer break with a healthy 48-point lead over Lorenzo in the Championship classification.

The action resumed in August, with a tight schedule of four races in five weeks that saw Marc putting into best practice his new strategy. He managed to finish fifth in the Ducati-dominated Austrian GP, took third in the Czech GP and, not perfectly comfortable with his choice of tyres in both the British and Misano GPs, scored two fourth-place finishes, the latter in a race dominated by teammate Pedrosa. At the same time, Lorenzo dropped back in third, 61 points off the top, while Rossi reduced his standings deficit to 43 points. Marc knew that more favourable tracks were about to come, and his home GP at Aragón was circled in red in his personal calendar. He didn’t miss the opportunity, taking the 64th pole of his Grand Prix career during Saturday’s qualifying, equalling Lorenzo for most career poles in history, and scoring a momentous victory on Sunday ahead Lorenzo and Rossi, bringing his career tally to 54 wins and equalling, at just 23 years of age, Australian legend Mick Doohan. Marc also moved to 52 points clear of the Italian in the standings, and 66 ahead of his countryman. With a maximum of 100 points available across the season’s remaining four races, there was a chance that Marquez could win the Championship at Honda’s home race in Japan.

A slim chance, actually. He needed to win at a track where he had never won in the premier class; he needed the Italian to finish 15th or lower and his countryman to finish off the podium.

It was a long shot but Marc put in a magnificent display and won the race while both his title rivals faltered and fell. So Marc clinched his third MotoGP title and his fifth in all classes at Honda’s home Grand Prix and in front of Honda President Chief Executive Officer and Representative Director Mr. Takahiro Hachigo, who joined him on the podium, Honda Operating Officer and Director Mr. Shinji Aoyama and HRC President Mr. Yoshishige Nomura. At the age of 23 and 242 days, he became the youngest-ever rider to win three premier-class World Championship, taking the record from Mike Hailwood who was 24 years 108 days when he won his third successive 500cc title in 1964.

After a DNF and an eleventh place in Australia and Malaysia, Marc returned to the podium in Valencia, in the 150thGP of his career, scoring an important second-place finish and helping Honda secure its 22nd Premier Class Constructor title during its 50th Anniversary racing in the division.

2017 The #Big6

Marc Marquez’s start to the 2017 MotoGP Championship as defending World Champion was not an easy one. While Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales began the season with two consecutive victories, Marc scored fourth place at the season opener in Qatar and then crashed out of the Argentine GP while leading lap four by over two seconds. Never, since advancing from Moto2 to MotoGP in 2013, had Marquez failed to post at least one win in the first two races, nor had he found himself as low as eighth place in the Championship. Nonetheless, round three in Austin was once again entirely a Marc Marquez affair. Taking his first win of the season, the Spaniard completed a perfect weekend, emerging victorious at Circuit of the Americas for the fifth-straight timeafter starting from pole position.

Then, in Europe for the first time of the season, Marquez scored a second-place result at Jerez behind teammate Dani Pedrosa, moving up to third in the standings, just four points down on provisional leader Valentino Rossi and two off of runner-up Maverick Viñales. The French and Italian Grand Prix events comprised two additional challenging venues. The 24-year-old encountered his second “zero” of the season when he crashed at Le Mans, and he just managed to take sixth at Mugello, where he struggled to manage front-tyre life for the entire race. Heading to the Catalan GP, Marc was fourth in the Championship, 37 points behind leader Viñales.

Marquez’s second recovery began with a podium finish in scorching-hot conditions at his second home race of the year. Five crashes in the lead up to the Catalan GP wasn’t the best weekend but Marc held it together in the race to cross the line in second, a result that lifted him to third in the Championship standings, just 23 points off the top. Marc then took a crucial third place at TT Assen which, combined with a DNF for Viñales, reduced to 11 points his gap to the top of what was proving to be an incredibly close Championship, even if he was still in fourth place behind Andrea Dovizioso, Viñales, and Rossi. Assen represented the 94th career podium for Marc and the 400th for the Repsol Honda Team. One week later, Marquez’s second win of 2017—and his eighth in a row at the Sachsenring, after starting from pole position—allowed him to head into the summer break leading the Championship for the first time of the season, with a small advantage of five points over fellow countryman Viñales.

When the action resumed in Brno, Marc took his second-consecutive victory, in challenging conditions. It was a flag-to-flag race, the sixth such event of Marquez’s career that he was able to master perfectly, the others having occurred at Assen 2014, Sachsenring 2014, Misano 2015, Argentine 2016, Sachsenring 2016.

On this occasion he found himself struggling soon after the lights went off, having fit a soft rear tyre that he didn’t feel at ease with on a drying track. He therefore decided to swap motorcycles quite early and entered the pit on lap two, when his team was prepared with his second bike, fitted with slick tyres. The decision allowed Marquez to pull a significant gap on his opponents, and he managed it until the chequered flag. The win extended his championship lead to 14 points on Viñales.

At the Austrian GP, Marc scored his fifth-consecutive podium result, just losing the victory to Andrea Dovizioso after a great battle that lasted until the last corner. Unfortunately, at the subsequent British Grand Prix, Marc suffered a technical problem that forced him to retire, putting the Italian, who won the race, at the top of the standings. With the title contenders now starting to reduce to a twosome, Marquez rebounded yet again, taking consecutive victories at the next two rounds in San Marino and Aragon and re-establishing himself as the championship leader.

Marquez and Dovizioso arrived in Japan for the first of three-consecutive flyaways with just 14 points separating them, and put on a stunning showdown at Twin Ring Motegi. In pouring rain, they staged an epic duel, fighting to the last corner of the final lap, and despite the best efforts of the reigning Champion, it was Dovizioso who emerged victorious from “Victory” corner, while Marc was an incredibly close second for his 100th career podium.

Marc arrived at the Australian Grand Prix still leading the standings by 11 points over Dovi, both having won five races apiece. It was crucial for the Repsol Honda man to try and take advantage at what is one of his favourite tracks, and he didn’t miss the opportunity, putting on a stellar performance to secure a crucial victory that extended his Championship lead to 269 points, 33 ahead of Dovizioso who, despite his 13th place, remained his only rival for the Title.

Sepang has never been one of Marc’s favourite track but the young Spaniard managed to score a solid fourth place at the Malaysian wet race which, combined with the achievements of Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow, earned Honda the 2017 MotoGP Constructor title. It was the manufacturer’s 23rd such crown in history, and the sixth out of the last seven seasons.

With Dovizioso winning the race in front of Jorge Lorenzo and Johan Zarco, Marc arrived at the season finale in Valencia leading the standings by 21 points over the Italian.

Since the World Championship series was introduced in 1949, this was the 18th occasion in which the premier-class title went down to the final race of the year (including 1993 when, strictly speaking, the title went down to the last round with Kevin Schwantz leading injured Wayne Rainey by 18 points).

Taking the third place in Valencia Marc made history by becoming the youngest-ever rider to win four premier-class Riders World Championships, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 25 years and 107 days old when he won his fourth premier-class title in 1965.


2018 #Level7

Marc Marquez started the 2018 MotoGP season with a podium finish in Qatar, followed by a challenging round in Argentina, run in tricky weather conditions; Marc was given a penalty of 30 seconds, which dropped him from fifth to 18th after the end of the race, and put him fifth in the points standings. However, from then onward fortunes started to swing in his favour with three back-to-back victories at Austin (taking his sixth-straight win of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas), Jerez and Le Mans, results that put him firmly on top of the Championship Classification. After a disappointing 16th-place finish at Mugello, Marc kicked his title quest up a gear with a string of eight consecutive podium finishes, including four victories. One of those came at Assen, a race that featured the closest top-15 of all time. Germany saw him take his ninth straight win at the track after starting from pole position. In a thrilling race at Aragon, he won a fantastic three-way battle with title contender Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. In Thailand, he earned pole position, set the lap record and won the first Grand Prix ever held in the country. At this point, with a 77-point advantage over title-rival Dovizioso and with four rounds remaining, Marc had his first chance to wrap up his fifth MotoGP title in six years, during Honda’s home Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi (where he had also clinched his second and third premier-class titles, in 2014 and 2016, respectively). Despite qualifying only sixth on the grid at Twin Ring Motegi, Marquez scored a brilliant victory, earning his eighth win of the season, the seventh World Title of his career and his fifth MotoGP World Championship in six years writing another chapter in the sport’s history books as the youngest ever rider to achieve this feat, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 26 years and 140 days old when he won his own seventh title, the 1966 350cc crown.

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