Marquez’s success gives Honda its 18th premier-class riders title, a great way of celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary of its entrance into the 500cc/MotoGP class in 1966. His fellow Honda premier-class champions include Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner, Eddie Lawson, Mick Doohan, Alex Crivillé, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner. Honda has won a record total of 278 Grand Prix victories in the class of Kings.
The 23-year-old Spaniard’s latest success continues his habit of rewriting MotoGP’s history books. He is now the youngest rider in the history of the sport to win five World Championships (125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014 and 2016). He is also the youngest rider to have won three premier-class titles.
Marquez had gone into this race thinking the title battle was far from over, with Yamaha rivals Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both within striking distance, albeit some distance behind on points.
He led into the first corner but Lorenzo squeezed past on the exit to lead the early laps. But by lap three Marquez was fully in the groove and upped his pace to overcome his fellow Spaniard the following lap. From there he never relinquished the lead, opening an advantage, with no one able to match him. First Rossi fell, without injury, but still Marquez stretched his lead over Lorenzo, now in second place. Finally Lorenzo slid off with five laps to go, also without injury. Marquez’s crew immediately signalled to him that both his rivals were out, meaning he would win the title, so long as he stayed on.
And stay on he did, in fine style. Marquez crossed the finish line 2.9 seconds in front of second-placed Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and immediately began his richly deserved title-winning celebrations.
Marquez has ridden a stupendous season. Not only has he won the most challenging world title of all, he is also the only rider across all three categories to have scored points in all 15 races so far. Some achievement, considering the knife-edge he rides every weekend.