He’s not even 30 and he’s already one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time. After a meteoric rise through the ranks... Is Marc Marquez special?
Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool

He’s not even 30 and he’s already one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time. After a meteoric rise through the ranks of motorcycle grand prix racing, he made his debut in MotoGP in 2013, and with the exception of 2015 and 2020, has been pretty bloody dominant ever since. But what’s going on? How is it that the Repsol Honda-riding-Spaniard has been able to make the opposition look daft so many times? He’s been doing it since his premier class debut, back when he was a spotty teenager. Is he some sort of demi-god? Has he been sent from the future? Is Marc Marquez special?

There’s no doubt that the now, devastatingly handsome athlete has brought a soupcon of something seriously special to the MotoGP grid, but is that ‘special something’ really exclusive to the gammy-armed 28 year old? Or has 2020 taught the rest of the grid that MM93 is only human after all?

Let’s have a look at what happened in 2020, shall we? Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the dreaded coronavirus. I’m talking about the MotoGP championship, which was one of the closest, hardest fought in a long time. And not just by a couple of characters at the front of the field, but by nearly half of them. In 2020, there were 9 MotoGP race winners, in 2019 there were only 5. Marquez took 12 wins for himself. And if he didn’t win, he came second (apart from in America, when he DNF’d).

All the way through the 2020 season there were a handful of different riders that looked strong enough to take the title. And at the end of the season, when Mir clinched it, there were 13 riders within 100 points of him. A year previously, when MM93 won, there wasn’t a single rider within 100 points of him. And there was only Dovi within 200. That alone would make Marc Marques special to some.

The point I’m trying to make is that in the absence of Marc Marquez, there’re plenty of riders that are capable of winning a MotoGP race. And if they’re capable of winning a MotoGP race, they’re capable of winning 10. And if they’re capable of winning 10, they’re capable of winning a championship.

But that’s in the absence of his royal highness, king Marc, right? Well yeah, but, let’s have a think about who these people are; the people that we all expect to be snapping at the heals of the Repsol Rider when the 2021 season gets underway. Quartararo, Binder, Olivera, Morbidelli, Marc’s little brother Alex and reigning champ Joan Mir. They’re all relatively new to MotoGP. Or they were. Now, with a season or two under their belts and another year’s worth of development on their racing machines, they’ll no doubt be a force to be reckoned with in 2021. And if you’re Marc Marquez, you ought to be concerned.

There’s no doubt that when Marc came to MotoGP and sat on one of the best bikes going (if not the best), with his loose-as-a-goose but as-fast-as-fuck riding style, the rest of the grid had to up their game if they wanted to stand half a chance of keeping up with him. They all tried, and a few of the old-timers even managed to beat him every now and then, but still he remained dominant.

But that was then, and this is now. Now there are a new crop of riders that have grown up watching Marquez, studying how he rides and putting it into good use themselves. They’ve not only spent 2020 sharing race wins between each other, they’ve spent it developing what were second rate bikes, into race winning machines. Whilst Marc has been busy with hospital appointments and opening windows, the rest of the field have been closing the gap.

Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool

It’s looking like Marquez the elder will be back on the grid in 2021. If he is, I’ve no doubt that we’ll regularly see him climbing onto the podium. In fact, if I’m being brutally honest, I still think we will see him up there more than anyone else. Yes, if he’s fit, I think he is going to win the championship. But, unlike in recent years, I wouldn’t bet my house on it this time. I reckon he is going to have some serious competition this year. I haven’t decided exactly who it is going to be from yet, but I can’t wait to find out.

Boothy

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FelixRevolt
FelixRevolt
4 months ago

Yeah Connor you’re correct with pushing the limits. But you mention MM would win last year if he wasn’t injured. This I don’t agree with because he rides that extreme, an injury was inevitable. It isn’t fair to all the other riders to say that.
Rossi (yes I’m a Rossi fan) has adapted better over the years to find ways to be quicker. MM is literally risking everything and I absolutely love him for that, so entertaining. But I just think Vale has a better riding style. We’re talking Special, GOAT guys here so I admire both of them. But I side with Vale.

Connor Preston
Connor Preston
4 months ago

I had a very narrow mind to MM93, and did not like him, after watching a few documentaries about him / honda, my mind is completely changed. He seems like a decent person off the bike, and just simply wants to destroy the competition.
Even if you still don’t like him, you cannot deny this mans talent, and how much he has forced the rest of the grid to become faster.
In my opinion last year was great, but it did show how inconsistent the grid is compared to this man in my eyes.
I think without any doubt he would have won last year (without injuries of course) .
I pray next year the grid can compete with him, and someone comes along to take his crown.
If anyone has some time check out his documentaries on redbull tv. Definitely worth a watch.

Morley
Morley
4 months ago

I think he might lose a little of his sparkle if the “fear” sets in. Will he still be giving his 110% if he could potentially end his career with another broken arm?

Connor Preston
Connor Preston
4 months ago
Reply to  Morley

This man has zero fear. Win it or bin it.

Dave
Dave
4 months ago

I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on his loose as a goose but fast as fuck style. How does he do what he does, did he reinvent the game?

FelixRevolt
FelixRevolt
4 months ago

No doubt MM is one of the best riders ever. But you can’t ride the way he does and not expect to risk a severe injury. In Rossi’s autobiography he says the key is ‘knowing the limit’. It’s true. I want MM back because he is mesmerising to watch and YES he is special. Weather he beats Rossi’s record of MotoGP championships is to be seen. Personally I still think Vale is number 1.

Connor Preston
Connor Preston
4 months ago
Reply to  FelixRevolt

Limits are always suppose to be pushed, otherwise MotoGP would never be at the stage it is now. Break the limit, improve engineering, limits are higher, and so on.

Matt Broksch
Matt Broksch
4 months ago

Is the Honda really the best bike in the field? I don’t think so. The one year that Marc didn’t compete, neither the factory team nor the satellite team won a single race. When was the last time Honda competed in a season and didn’t win a single race? I can’t think of one.

Glor
Glor
4 months ago
Reply to  Matt Broksch

Exactly right, the Honda wins because of Marc!

John
John
4 months ago

Surely he’s the best ever?

Dan O'Donovan
Dan O'Donovan
4 months ago

He is a phenomenal rider, but his arrogance is what pisses people off. I reckon had he been less of a wanker in his earlier moto GP days more people would like him much the way they do other dominant riders, but then again, maybe he liked playing the villain, I guess he hasn’t done too badly from it.

Jordan Richardson
Jordan Richardson
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan O'Donovan

Tbh he’s was never there to make friends, I personally think he done great. He’s gone in there and done a job. And to the rossi fan boys, Marc hasn’t treated people any differently on track as to how rossi had in his earlier years. People forget that. I’m routing for binder this season, that guy is one very humble chap.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jordan Richardson
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan O'Donovan

Call it arrogance if you will…I call it supreme confidence. Every MotoGP has to be supremely confident in what they’re doing, whether to convince themselves they’re worthy of the ride or whether to get another years contract. Yes, he may have been more confident than most but look at what he was doing: he stepped up to the Premier class and made it look piss easy.
Boothy is right: when Marc returns he’ll be right on it. I’d actually put a large wad of cash on him coming back and having a clean sweep; the thing that put a rocket up everyone’s arse wasn’t there last year…

Connor Preston
Connor Preston
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan O'Donovan

I had the same thoughts, until I watched his redbull documentary, completely changed my views