As newspapers around the world went to press following the final MotoGP round of 2013 it was of no surprise to see Marc Marquez, the newly crowned world champion, dominating the headlines in the Spanish press.
“New King of MotoGP”, “Already a Legend”, “The Happiest Kid in the World” and “The Baby Champion” were just some of the headlines that celebrated the triumph that marked Marquez as the youngest ever premier class champion at just 20 years and 266 days.
The president of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, sent a personal telegram congratulating Marquez on Sunday night while AS
, Spain's biggest daily sports publication, dedicated its front page to the 20 year old from Cervera in Catalunya. Daily newspapers ABC
, El Mundo
, El Pais
and La Razon
all paid glowing tributes.
Many ran full-length features chartering the rise of the ever-smiling Catalan, from a four year old boy practicing in local fields to the top of the world standings. None more so than El Pais
Noting that the stirring finale in Valencia attracted close to six million Spanish television viewers (46% of the audience share), they went on to note that although Marquez still possesses the baby faced looks of that four year old boy, his daring and ambition have already lifted him to the highest level.
Madrid sports daily Marca
echoed these thoughts, noting Sunday's result lifts Marquez into the pantheon of great Spanish riders. With his MotoGP success adding to his tally of 125 and Moto2 crowns Marquez only sits behind Angel Nieto, Jorge Lorenzo and Jorge Martinez in the list of individual titles won by Spaniards.
Perhaps the most daring headline of the day went to AS
, using Marquez's quote of “Little genius, big balls” to describe the talent that made him the first rookie champion in the premier class since 1978. Two-wheel correspondent Mela Chércoles spoke glowingly of the new champion, writing “On bikes, however brave you are, you have to use your head and the new king of MotoGP demonstrated that by not falling into Lorenzo's trap.”
went further, ranking him alongside other prodigious sporting greats Boris Becker and Pele. To balance that they reminded us that Marquez didn't quite break every record this year. The title of youngest ever rider on a MotoGP podium still belongs to Randy Mamola at 19 years of age, while Jarno Saarinen and Max Biaggi remain the only riders to have won their very first race in the premier class.
In a touching tribute in ABC
13 time world champion Angel Nieto wrote, “He is a natural talent who trusts himself and it's his ability to see opportunities where others don't…The talent, desire to learn and ability to entertain are reasonable grounds to believe Marquez will bring joy for a long time.”