Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez, already the youngest ever World Champion, claimed his second successive championship at Honda’s home circuit of Motegi in the Japanese Grand Prix. The Mallorcan rode to a secure second place in the race to make his points lead unassailable, with three races still to go.
The 21-year-old from Cervera in Spain, already 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, won his second straight premier class to become the youngest ever winner of consecutive titles, beating the record of Mike Hailwood that had stood since 1963. The prodigious talent of Marquez means that he has also claimed this title still at a younger age than the previous youngest-ever winner, Honda’s 1983 champion Freddie Spencer. The win, celebrated with the ceremonial release of a high-flying balloon cut free with a traditional Japanese samurai sword, comes after a near-perfect season, with 11 race wins out of 15 races, 11 pole-position starts and setting the fastest lap in 10 races.
It also took Honda a step closer to securing a fourth successive Constructors’ Championship with the class-leading V4 RC213V MotoGP prototype.
Teammate Dani Pedrosa was fourth, just half-a-second away from his own tenth podium finish, in a race run in dry conditions in spite of the threat of an imminent typhoon, in front of a Sunday crowd of 42,856. The position kept alive his hopes of finishing second overall to give Honda a classic championship one-two.
The race was won at lap-record speed by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), with his teammate Valentino Rossi third.
Marquez overcame a second-row start, and fought his way to second place after finishing the first lap fifth. He claimed the position on the 16th of 24 laps of the 4.801 Honda-built Motegi circuit, in mountainous country north of Tokyo.
It was a fitting climax to a landmark season for the youthful superstar. Marquez won the first ten races without interruption, and added another victory in round 12. Each win was another chapter in the legend of a potential all-time giant of the sport.
“I am very happy to have sealed this second consecutive World Championship, because although it is difficult to maintain this level, in the end we succeeded! Today is the time to enjoy this title. In the race I had a very clear objective, which was to finish ahead of Valentino and Dani – the other riders did not matter to me so much today. I just had one goal in mind and the important thing is that I was able to achieve it. I want to dedicate this title to all the people who have helped me – they know who they are – and especially to my family and the team, who are the foundation for all of this,” Marquez said after the race.