Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took his first-ever MotoGP win at Twin Ring Motegi on Honda’s home asphalt, securing the 2016 MotoGP title in the process.
At 23-years old, Marquez is now the youngest ever rider to win three premier-class World Championship titles and five World Championships over all classes during a period of only nine years of World Championship racing. Marquez has now equalled Mick Doohan, Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Mang’s tally of 5 World Titles in his career.
Marc Marquez 2016 World Championship facts so far:
– Marquez is the youngest-ever rider to win three premier-class World Championship titles, at the age of 23 years 242 days, taking the record from Mike Hailwood who was 24 years 108 days when he won his third successive 500cc title in 1964.
– Marquez is also the youngest rider of all-time to reach the milestone of five world championship titles, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 24 years 238 days old when he won his fifth title – the 2003 MotoGP championship.
– Marquez won all his three MotoGP Titles riding for Honda, equalling the number of premier-class title achieved by Valentino Rossi when riding for Honda (1 x500cc + 2 x MotoGP). The only rider who has won more premier-class world title riding for Honda is Mick Doohan who won the 500cc title on five occasions.
– There is only another Spanish rider with more World Titles than Marquez and Lorenzo: Angel Nieto with thirteen world championship titles (7 x 125cc, 6 x 50cc).
– With his win in Japan Marquez has won a Grand Prix at least five times per season for the last seven years (across the various GP classes), something achieved previously by only two riders in the 68-year history of motorcycle grand prix racing: Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood.
– During 2016 Marquez has had more wins than any other rider in the MotoGP class (five), most podiums (eleven) and most pole positions (six).
Third premier-class World Championship title (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 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 an outside chance that Marquez could win the Championship at Honda’s home race in Japan and he took it winning his first-ever MotoGP race at Twin Ring Motegi on Honda’s home asphalt and therefore securing the 2016 MotoGP title.