The second instalment of our Defining 2018 series looks at a rider taking his place in the history books. MotoGP 2018 will be remembered as the year Marc Marquez took his fifth title in only six seasons in the premier division and began his ascent to immortality.
Marc Marquez has been outstanding since his debut in MotoGP, and the Spaniards Midas touch does not seem to be relenting anytime soon.
Coming away from title number four in 2017, the Repsol-Honda rider was looking to answer his critics. Despite claiming the crown, the Spaniard fought hard with Antonio Dovisioso all year, with the fight going down to the last round.
The only way Marquez could silence the doubt was to dominate 2018; and he did.
Nine wins, seven poles, 14 podiums and a tally of 321 points meant that Marc Marquez was able to take his fifth title in six seasons.
It is incredible to think that he joined MotoGP in 2013, and less than a decade later he could be taking his place in the history books.
This golden year was, surprisingly, not a smooth ride from start to finish. After missing out on the line at Doha, to rival Dovisioso, Marquez was stripped of a fifth place finish in Argentina as a result of accumulating too many penalties.
A strange race from start to finish that saw Jack Miller start with around 5 rows advantage on the grid as the rest of the field changed to wet tyres. Marquez then stalled and had to fight his way through the field following a ride-through penalty.
The Spaniard certainly wasn’t afraid to display full-contact MotoGP against arch-nemesis Valentino Rossi.
At the next round in Austin, Marquez was handed a three place grid penalty for impeding Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales, but this did not stop him from claiming his sixth straight win at the Circuit of The Americas.
After holding on to a hair-raising slide at Jerez, Marquez began to generate a grip on the championship standings after completing a 2018 hattrick of wins at Le Mans.
Despite crashing out at Mugello, Marquez now lead the points table with a seemingly unassailable lead having finished second in Barcelona, and winning at Assen and Sachsenring.
Following the summer break the Spaniard would not win for three consecutive races (excluding cancelled Silverstone round) but would finish third, second and second at Brno, Austria and San Marino.
Marc Marquez proving the old saying that points make prizes. In situations where he couldn’t top the rostrum, he held on to take the maximum he could from each weekend.
He would go on to win at Aragon, Thailand and then it was at Motegi the curtain fell on the 2018 title.
The race was close fought between Marquez and Dovisioso, with the Ducati rider doing all he could to keep his title hopes alive. The championship was decided when Dovisioso, pushing hard tore-pass Marquez on the final lap, slid off the track and out of the points.
The last three rounds proved somewhat of a victory lap, retiring twice (Philip Island and Valencia) and winning once in Malaysia.
Marc Marquez has a debated ‘legend status’, and it is understandable why.
There are two main reasons, the first is that he simply hasn’t been in the paddock long enough. His career is less than a decade, and he is yet to grovel for a title like some of the series greatest riders. Not only this, but time helps grow that fanbase, and respect, that is crucial to making it on to the list of immortals.
Reason number two is that Valentino Rossi is still riding. A strange argument I know, but the Italian is still ‘king’ of MotoGP, and all the time Marquez is angering the loyal and lay following he is not displaying that superior and near spiritual character that the motorsport greats possess.
The grandstands remain a certain shade of yellow.
Some simply believe that Marquez will never be able to reach the heights of Rossi.
There is one counter argument to this: records.
Following his emphatic 2018 campaign, one of the defining moments of the year, Marquez currently holds over thirty (YES 30+) MotoGP records, and even more in the lower categories.
This year and the stats declare why the 25-year-old is simply one of the greats.
Header Image: bikesrepublic.com