After watching Marquez clinch his eighth title in Thailand, Shivank has turned into a 93 fanboy. Here’s why . . .
At precisely 10 am on Friday the 4th Oct, I was packing my stuff to leave for office. I was a little excited that day though. Reason? I was flying to Thailand to watch a live MotoGP race later that day! After 12 years of following MotoGP, it was nothing short of a dream come true. Moreover, it was also the race where Marc Marquez could clinch the world title, while it was also known that Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso won’t let him walk away with it. Flashes of the inaugural Thai GP ran through my mind several times, wherein Marquez won the last lap and last corner battle from Dovizioso. So, all in all, I knew my first MotoGP had all the makings of a stunner.
But then, bad news struck like an unwanted flash of lightning! I checked my social media to get an update of the proceedings at Buriram. And the images I saw were horrifying, to say the least. Marquez had a massive high-side crash – it was one of the biggest and ugliest crashes in MotoGP as far as I can remember. So bad was the impact that his bike was split into two pieces! Marquez, on the other hand, was shaken and stirred – the Repsol Honda rider had landed on ground so badly that he couldn’t breathe for a few seconds. Alpinestars later revealed that he suffered an impact of 26.14g during the crash!
Marquez had to undergo multiple checks on his back and legs in the hospital after the nasty crash. At this point, I was getting a little frustrated back in India. You see, I was going to watch my first MotoGP, and Marquez’s presence in the race was doubtful. Sure, there are a lot of other riders, but even if you decide to think objectively, Marquez is the showman right now. It’s like taking Iron Man out of the Avengers cast!
However, three hours after his crash, Marquez returned to the track after being declared fit. He looked in pain, but he wouldn’t let it show. And then he did the most unreal thing – as soon as he climbed on his bike, Marquez fired the fastest lap of the weekend! Everyone was stunned, but not surprised. It seemed that his brain didn’t even register the crash. I mean, if it were me, I know I won’t get up from a crash like that for about a week, and then some! Like him or not, you can’t help but be in awe of this man. He’s something else!
And after all this drama, Marquez went on to win the race in a spectacular fashion in a final lap, final corner duel with Quartararo. It was his 9th win of the season, but, more importantly, it helped Marquez clinch his 8th world title and 6th premier class title. And just so you know, here’s a list of Marquez’s achievements that came with this year’s championship win:
|•||Youngest-ever rider (26) to win six premier class world titles.|
|•||Youngest-ever rider to win 8 world titles overall.|
|•||Most successful Honda rider to win premier-class titles – he has now surpassed Mick Doohan (5).|
|•||The third rider, after Giacomo Agostini (8) and Valentino Rossi (7), to win six or more premier-class titles in the history of MotoGP.|
Despite all of this, some believe Marquez hasn’t peaked yet, and there’s more to come. And with age by his side, you can’t argue against it. However, what makes Marquez truly special is his riding style. Not once have I seen him taking things casually, even when he’s at the top of his game, Marquez is always dancing on the edge, as he manhandles his RCV through turns, leaning the bike to unrealistic angles, and dragging his elbow all the while. It’s a spectacle that no one can get bored of.
Also, the fact that his bike, the Honda RCV, is not an easy motorcycle to ride – look where other Hondas are in the championship, barring a few races, they struggle to even make it in the top 10 – makes Marquez’s achievements all the more remarkable. Plus, Marquez’s consistency has been stellar this season. He has won 11 races so far (after Thailand, Marquez won the following rounds in Japan and Australia as well), with two more rounds to go. On all the occasions, he’s never finished outside of podium – except in Austin, where he crashed when he was leading the race by over 3 seconds. On his ‘bad days’, he finishes not even a second behind his rivals. It’s just amazing, really! To be honest, he makes the rest of the grid – packed with world’s best motorcycle racers – look mediocre!
Many often say that Marquez is a machine – he can save front-end slides like no other, he rides the wheels off his Honda and gets the maximum out of it, he rides on wet tracks with slicks and beats everyone black-and-blue, and he wins races when he shouldn’t. Things he does are sometimes not humanly possible. And with so many things going around, it’s hard not to be his fan.
Even as a journo, I find it hard to resist from shouting and cheering when Marquez does the extraordinary stuff. In fact, that is exactly what I did when I saw Marquez clinch victory and his eighth title in the very final corner of the Chang Circuit right in front of my eyes. I watched history being made in my first ever MotoGP race. And while I don’t consider myself a fan of one particular rider, I must say that we’re very, very lucky to see a rider of Marquez’s calibre in action.
I’ve never seen someone ride a motorcycle like him ever before. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that we’re witnessing the ‘Senna’ moment of MotoGP right now. We’re probably witnessing the greatest motorcycle racer of all time in Marquez!
After stalking him for the entire race, Marquez clinched the championship in style with a final corner win from Quartararo.
Marquez’s ‘bad days’ this year were when he lost final corner races by a hair’s breadth to Dovizioso (Qatar & Austria) and Alex Rins (Great Britain).
Photo credits: Redbull Content Pool & Suzuki