'Little genius, big balls' - Spanish press talk Marquez MotoGP triumph
12 November 2013
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.”
El Mundo 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.”
The frenzy surrounding Marquez somewhat overshadowed the incidents on track between Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in the 30 lap season finale.
The Repsol rider said he “understood” Lorenzo's aggressive strategy, even if it was “hard” and the Spanish press similarly glossed over it. Although El Mundo described the first of Lorenzo's moves on Pedrosa as “the beginning of fireworks, brutal”, AS seemed to share the thoughts of many racing fans, diplomatically stating “It's not a contact sport but a sport where sometimes there is contact.”
While rivals Lorenzo and Yamaha returned to the track to begin pre-season testing on Monday HRC gave Marquez the day off as a reward. El Mundo's Elena Isardo commented he only awoke at midday and came to the track to welcome Hugo Bucher, Jordi Castella and Javi Oritz - mechanics he had previously worked with in Moto2 – into the Repsol Honda ranks. When asked about the first thing that came into his head as he awoke as the new world champion, Marquez quipped “water.”
Several journalists, including those writing for El Mundo Deportivo and El Pais spoke with Marquez on Monday afternoon.
When asked whether this was the beginning of the 'Marquez Era', he replied “Those words are too big for now…Lorenzo and Pedrosa are still very young. I hope that I never find what my limits are. If you go with the mentality of wanting to improve, you'll always find something else.”
Speaking to AS Marquez revealed HRC principal Shuhei Nakamoto's last words to him before the race were “Please, keep your head today.”
Marca's chief motorcycle reporter Jaime Martin also recounted a scene from Honda's celebratory dinner where team members serenaded Marquez with several karaoke numbers, singing Sinatra's 'My Way' with improvised lyrics referring to the black flag incident in Phillip Island.
Meanwhile other publications quoted Freddie Spencer, the previous holder of the youngest MotoGP Champion prior to Sunday afternoon, who spoke to Reuters. Spencer believes Marquez's triumph is simply “the first step” in his career of success. Other riders beware.