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How Marquez successfully defended the MotoGP™ title in 2014

How Marquez successfully defended the MotoGP™ title in 2014

Repsol Honda’s brilliant young MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez retained the premier class title in style this year – and this is the story of how he did so.

Last year Marquez became the youngest ever winner of the premier class World Championship, securing the crown by four points and winning it at the last race of the season in Valencia. This year a brilliant start to his title defence saw him notch up ten consecutive race wins in the opening ten races, leaving his rivals chasing his shadows.

A pre-season leg break which the rider from Cervera, Spain, sustained whilst dirt track training close to his hometown, meant he missed the last tests before the new season commenced, but he showed no signs of weakness once the real action got underway in Qatar. Just weeks after his training accident Marquez showed he would be tough to beat this year as he won from pole at the Losail International Circuit following a great battle in the desert with Valentino Rossi.

Returning to the scene of his first MotoGP class win last year in Austin, Marquez was unstoppable at round two as he won by a four second margin from his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. A fortnight later Marquez added another venue to the list of tracks where he has been victorious as he won an enthralling MotoGP race in Argentina at the new Termas de Rio Hondo track.

Just a week on from the Argentina triumph, Marquez cruised to victory in front of 115,000 fans at Jerez with Rossi and Pedrosa also on the podium. It was a fourth win from pole as Marquez continued his ruthless form.

On the back of his early season performances Marquez agreed a new two year deal with his team, tying him to Honda Racing Corporation until the end of 2016.

Further victories were racked up from pole as the series of European Grands Prix continued at Le Mans and Mugello. Pedrosa, Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were giving it their all to stop the rampant 21 year-old but could not find a way to defeat him.

Marquez’s rivals got a glimmer of hope at Barcelona-Catalunya as he crashed out of Q2 and missed pole for the first time this season, qualifying third. But come the race Marquez was as formidable as ever, crossing the line half a second in front of Rossi, surviving a late scare as Pedrosa touched his rear wheel in the final stages, the latter almost crashing and having to settle for third.

Given his brilliant performances, every weekend Marquez was being asked if he felt invincible and whether he could win every race in 2014. But he played things down and insisted that he had to be prepared for a race when he could not clinch victory. He consistently reiterated that winning the championship, not every race, was his goal.

Nonetheless, the victories kept coming as Marquez got the best out of his Honda RC213V every time he went out to race. Assen brought a huge challenge in difficult conditions, but Marquez adapted best in the flag-to-flag contest and took the win by 6.7s from Andrea Dovizioso. The Dutch TT success made Marquez the first rider since the great Giacomo Agostini in 1971 to win the first eight premier-class races of the year.

Sachsenring was next and the MotoGP riders raced in tricky conditions again. With the track drying quickly much of the field changed from wet set-up to dry after the final Warm Up lap, meaning they had to start from pit lane. Marquez showed he was the man for all seasons once again, winning by 1.5s from Pedrosa.

This meant Marquez went into the summer break with a perfect record of nine wins from nine races and as he relaxed on the beach in Tarifa with his brother Alex and their friends during the summer break, he did so with a healthy 77 point lead in the standings.

That lead increased to 89 points as the action resumed at Indianapolis and Marquez took another win from pole, with Lorenzo and Rossi joining him on the podium. The victory saw Marquez become the first rider since Mick Doohan in 1997 to win ten successive premier class races.

Eventually the time would come for Marquez to show that he was human after all and it was at Brno that his winning streak finally came to an end. Marquez crossed the line in fourth place, behind winner Pedrosa and podium finishers Lorenzo and Rossi.

It was business as usual at Silverstone two weeks later, however, as Marquez struck back immediately for victory after a superb battle with Lorenzo.

Uncharacteristic crashes for Marquez at Misano and Aragon saw him finish the races there 15th and 13th respectively. However the 21 year-old rider still had a significant 75 point lead as MotoGP departed from Europe and headed east to Japan for the first of the ‘flyaway’ triple header of races.

With a calm and controlled ride into second place at Motegi, behind a resurgent race winning Lorenzo, Marquez got the required points to retain his title. Winning a midrace battle with Rossi and managing the gap ahead of the Italian in second place in the second half of the race Marquez wrapped up the World Championship honours with three races to go.

MotoGP, 2014, MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

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