Marc Márquez: The path to the top

He's set MotoGP alight with his stunning debut... looks at how Marc Márquez got there.
Marc Márquez MotoGP 2013 Qatar Grand Prix
Marc Márquez ready for his MotoGP debut in Qatar © Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool
By Joseph Caron Dawe

Marc Márquez's rise to the very top has been swift, impressive and unforgiving, and perhaps most worrying for his rivals is that the 20-year-old Spaniard has only really just started.

After becoming the youngest rider in the history of MotoGP to win a race in the premier class of the World Championship when he took victory at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Márquez ticked off another achievement on a very long list that belies his youth but underlines his abundant talent.

Márquez built his early experience in the Catalan and Spanish National Championships, the latter of which has for a long time been the benchmark and breeding ground for the finest talent from around the world. The likes of Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl have all competed in it, and after gaining enough of a grounding Márquez debuted in the World Championship 125cc class in 2008.

Marc Márquez 125cc 2009 Jerez Spanish Grand Prix
First home podium for Marc in Jerez, May 2009 © GEPA/Gold & Goose
Marc Márquez 125cc 2009 Le Mans French Grand Prix
May 2009: Future team-mates! © GEPA/Gold & Goose

2008 & 2009: World Championship debut and the learning curve
It didn't take long for Márquez to settle in and in only his sixth race he took a podium finish at the British GP at Donington. At just 15 years and 127 days of age it made him the youngest Spaniard to climb onto a World Championship podium, and by the end of the campaign Márquez had ridden in 13 of the 17 rounds.

Marc Márquez 125cc 2009 Mugello Italian Grand Prix
The look of determination, even at 16... © GEPA/Gold & Goose

2009, Márquez's second season in the 125cc World Championship, got off to a good start with a top-five finish in Japan and then a podium on home soil in Jerez in Round 3. It was followed by pole position at Le Mans, his first, and his raw pace was to be seen throughout the year with some strong qualifying displays. Results were promising too, and a top-eight finish in the final standings was his reward.

Marc Márquez 125cc 2010 Valencia Grand Prix
125cc World Champion! © GEPA/Gold & Goose

2010: The first title
For the 2010 season Márquez joined the factory Derbi team and after he showed blistering pace in pre-season testing was among the favourites to challenge for the title.

The campaign got off to a mixed start: a podium in Round 1 in Qatar was followed by a crash in the next race at Jerez that resulted in a broken collarbone. Just three weeks later Márquez was back on the bike – and the podium – in France as he showed the kind of resilience that was to become ever more evident race by race.

What came next was a stunning run of form that really confirmed just how talented the then 17-year-old was. Márquez scored his first victory at the Italian GP, Round 4, and it kickstarted an incredible run of five straight wins as he blasted his way to the top of the standings.

By the time the Championship arrived at the final round in Valencia, Márquez had taken 10 victories and started from pole 11 times. Fourth place in the last race wrapped up the title and he was on his way up to Moto2 as the 125cc World Champion...

Marc Márquez Moto2 2011 French Grand Prix Le Mans
The first Moto2 win... © GEPA/Gold & Goose

2011: Speed and scares
Márquez was immediately fast on the 600cc Moto2 machine as soon as he climbed onto it in pre-season testing, and he qualified on the front row for his first race in the category: Round 1 in Qatar.

However, youthful exuberance got the better of him and he crashed out in Losail, was taken out in the next race in Jerez and then went down again in Portugal. It was a tough introduction to the category for Márquez, but he used the experience well and in the next race won his first Moto2 GP in France. From there the wins snowballed and by the time the Championship arrived at the penultimate round in Malaysia he had seven wins and was fighting for the title with Stefan Bradl.

Marc Márquez Moto2 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang
2011 title challenge derailed © GEPA/Gold & Goose

A crash in practice at Sepang ended the season prematurely though, as Márquez struggled to recover from a vision problem and he missed the race there and in Valencia. The hangover was lengthy and affected his preparations for the 2012 season too, with Márquez later admitting he had begun to fear if he would be able to recover fully...

2012: World Champion
Arriving in Qatar for Round 1 the full extent of Márquez's fitness was uncertain. He dispelled any doubts with victory, and his form for the rest of the season was unmatchable.

Marc Márquez Moto2 2012 Indianapolis Grand Prix
Winning at Indy, and on the way to the 2012 crown © GEPA/Gold & Goose

There was controversy along the way, with some of his aggressive riding drawing criticism from other riders and even sanctions from the FIM, but with nine wins and a total of 14 podiums from 17 GPs Márquez was a worthy Champion.

Marc Márquez Moto2 2012 Australian Grand Prix Phillip Island
Signed, sealed, delivered... The 2012 Moto2 title © GEPA/Gold & Goose

It was midway through the season – shortly after Casey Stoner's confirmed retirement from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 campaign – that Márquez was announced as Dani Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate in MotoGP for 2013...

Marc Márquez MotoGP 2013 Qatar Grand Prix
Straight on it in MotoGP with a podium in Qatar © Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool

2013: MotoGP debut
As he had done in Moto2 Márquez took no time to adapt to a bigger bike, and his form in pre-season testing on the 1000cc Honda had tongues wagging amongst his fellow MotoGP riders.

When the lights went out in Qatar for the opening race of the season he was fearless, and a podium on his debut added to the buzz surrounding a talent which had already been acknowledged as something very special.

Marc Márquez MotoGP 2013 Americas Grand Prix
Victory in only his second MotoGP race! © Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

Then, in just his second MotoGP race, Márquez scored victory and with 16 more rounds to come in 2013 this year promises to be one of the most scintillating in recent memory...

© GEPA/Gold & Goose
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