The Repsol Honda star celebrates 10 years in the premier class on Friday, and we take a look through his time so far
On April 7th, 2013, Lusail International Circuit bore witness to Marc Marquez’ MotoGP™ debut. The Repsol Honda rider demonstrated from his debut in the premier class that he would be anything but ordinary. Standing on the podium for the first time that night, his smile hinted at the revolution to come. What followed over the next decade has made history, defining a new era in the premier class.
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2013: A revolutionary rookie
With the bar set high at Honda after Casey Stoner's retirement, Marquez burst onto the scene in emphatic fashion. The first podium at the Qatar opener would be topped by a first win in Austin in the following round, and beginning his love affair with the Circuit of the Americas. The best was still yet to come. The #93 would put on unforgettable displays of talent and bring his unique personality to the track and when overtaking, such as the final move on Jorge Lorenzo in Jerez or the move on Valentino Rossi in the 'corkscrew' of Laguna Seca. A heavy crash in Mugello practice or disqualification from the Australian GP due to a miscalculation proved nothing more than just minor blemishes in a year that he became the youngest rider to win a MotoGP™ title.
#Rookie93: Marc Marquez
2014: The road to perfection
The start of his second season in the premier class would be simply devastating. With three world titles in the bag - one in each category - Marquez would reach another level to string together 10 wins in the first 10 rounds of the year, from Qatar to Indianapolis. The streak was broken in Brno by his teammate, Dani Pedrosa. After equaling Mick Doohan with 12 wins in a single premier class campaign and already crowned in Japan, the HRC finished the season with 13 victories, a tally he hasn’t bettered since.
Marc Marquez - Trophy Collector
2015: The year of the Sepang Clash
After an astonishing campaign in 2014, Marquez couldn’t quite reach those superhuman levels of performance again. Winner in Austin, he would not taste victory again until another of his favourite circuits, the Sachsenring in Germany. 2015 also saw Marquez and Valentino Rossi come to blows, with an incident between the two in Argentina sparking tensions that heightened after a final corner touch in Assen and then came to a head at that year’s Malaysian GP. The now infamous Sepang Clash saw Marquez go down, Rossi penalised for the season finale, and Jorge Lorenzo take MotoGP™ World Championship number three.
#SepangClash: Rossi and Marquez get physical
2016: Reconquering the world
It’s often said we learn the most about ourselves after defeats, and it certainly seemed to ring true for Marquez after conceding his World Championship crown. The Cervera adopted a more mature approach to his craft, while remaining a box office watch on track. After taking his now annual wins at COTA and the Sachsenring, the #93 claimed title joy in Motegi at the Japanese GP following his fifth and final win of the year as both Rossi and Lorenzo crashed out of contention.
From Cervera to Tokyo: Marquez's incredible 2016 journey
2017: The title-clinching save
New title rivals began to emerge fot the #93 in 2017. Lorenzo was out of the short-term equation with his move to Ducati, while Andrea Dovizioso was becoming a force to be reckoned with aboard the Desmosedici. Viñales dazzled in preseason and Rossi started strong, and we can’t forget about the class of Dani Pedrosa. However, try as they might, nobody could deny Marquez a sixth world title. Dovizioso came closest, beating the Spaniard in two agonizing duels in Spielberg and Japan, and the Italian ensured that the fate of the title went to the final day in Valencia. Marquez had a scare, but, not for the first time in his career, he defied the laws of physics with a super save that saw him clinch the Championship.
Marc Marquez: Unseen
2018: Reaching seventh heaven
2018 started with a bang, with a Qatar cracker seeing Dovizioso edge victory in an instant classic. Then, after failing to register a point in Argentina after another infamous clash with Valentino Rossi, Marquez took three wins on the bounce to ignite his title charge. Six more wins and four further podiums came resulting in him being crowned World Champion for a seventh time.
Watch Marquez' 7th Championship celebration in all its glory
2019: A record-breaking season
If the 2014 campaign will be remembered for the 13 victories, 2019 will always be the year of records. Another epic with Dovizioso in Lusail opened up the season and an unexpected fall in Austin sowed a seed of doubt into people’s minds. Marquez’ response was emphatic. In the next 17 races, he failed to finish outside the top two. 12 victories, six P2s and 420 points delivered Marquez a record-breaking season, and his eighth world title after another edge-of-the-seat thriller at the Thai GP against a then-rookie Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™).
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2020: The cruelest injury
In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Marquez was presented with his first chance to equal Rossi's record of nine titles. After a unique renewal of his contract with Honda for four more seasons, showcasing the mutual trust between the two, the #93 had his sights set on furthering his already impressive record. However, fate had other plans. During the first round in Jerez, while attempting a historic comeback, Marc suffered a severe highside and was struck by his own bike. The resulting injury was brutal: a fracture in his right humerus. Despite undergoing surgery, Marquez attempted to return to the track just a week later, but after testing himself in free practice, he ultimately decided to step back and reserve himself. Unfortunately, a relapse occurred while at home and he had to undergo another surgery, ending his season prematurely. It was undoubtedly the cruelest injury of the year for the talented rider.
Unseen: Marc Marquez' fight to be fit inside a week
2021: The Comeback
After a third operation, Marquez made his return in the third round of 2021 at the Algarve International Circuit. After a 265-day wait and countless hours of work behind him, he was back. In Le Mans, in the rain, he would briefly taste the lead before finding victory again at his beloved Sachsenring. A wild crash during practice in Assen wouldn't slow him down, and he began to take off after the break, engaging in a fierce battle with Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) at MotorLand before chaining together two brilliant wins in Austin and Misano. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, but an accident while training off-road interrupted his progress due to a new episode of diplopia. It was time to recover and prepare for 2022.
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2022: Turning Point
Marquez returned to the track once again, ready to take on the world. However, history soon repeated itself as a massive highside during Warm Up at the Indonesia GP saw the Repsol Honda rider ruled out of a couple of GPs. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and was fit to line up on the grid for the Americas GP. Despite injury troubles, he came into COTA as a favourite but a mechanical problem at lights out saw him drop to the back of the grid. Showing everyone just what he’s made of, he went from P24 to P6 in a thrilling comeback ride.
Weeks later, during the Italian GP, he announced his decision to undergo a fourth operation on his right arm. It was a decision motivated by saving his career after riding with severe limitations. His return in the Misano Test would be highly celebrated. Despite a very turbulent first GP in Aragon, Marquez began to soar in the last races of the year, savouring his first pole position in three years in Japan and his 100th podium in the premier class in Australia.
After an injury-free winter, the first in a long time, and with Honda focused on returning to the top, Marquez leaves behind his first decade in MotoGP™ and prepares to write a new chapter in the history of the World Championship.