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Marc Marquez: Racing doubt to double world champion

29 October 2012

By Lisa Lewis

Sunday's third place at Phillip Island was enough to launch Marc Marquez into the record books with years of hard work by the Spanish teenager, his team and mentor, former 125cc champion Emilio Alzamora, resulting in the 2012 Moto2 crown.

It was a world away from the penultimate round of Marquez's debut season in the class, where he was effectively forced to concede victory to Stefan Bradl due to injuries suffered when he fell on an unmarked section of wet track at Sepang, the subsequent double vision issue then putting his racing career in jeopardy.

“After the serious injury I suffered a year ago, which could have taken me away from racing forever, the most important thing is that I was able to get back riding,” said Marquez on Sunday.

Marquez's second championship title, after the 2010 125cc crown, opens up a succession of new accolades for the talented Spaniard.

At 19 years and 254 days he becomes the youngest to take the Moto2 title so far and the third youngest in the history of the intermediate class, behind future team-mate Dani Pedrosa and newly crowned down MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo.

The fifth Spanish rider to hold the intermediate title, he is the first to do so using a Suter chassis.

A new highest points tally for Moto2 of 299, which can still be added to at the final race in Valencia, was achieved from Marquez's impressive record of 13 podiums - including eight wins - pushing his total career GP wins to 25.

He laid out his intentions from the very start. After missing most of pre-season due to the vision problems, he won at the season-opener in Qatar.

The Losail race also set the tone for the season with Marquez involved in controversy after an aggressive move on Tom Luthi during the final lap provoked the generally mild-mannered Swiss rider to slap the Spaniard on the arm on the slow-down lap.

The next two races ignited his season long rivalry with Pons Kalex rider Pol Espargaro.

Espargaro won at home in Jerez, Marquez had been in front when the race was stopped by rain, but his compatriot had lead the previous lap, which the result was to be taken from, then in Estoril they swapped paint after battling the race distance with Marquez the victor.

A non-finish at Le Mans opened up the title race, but the defining moment of the season came at Catalunya with the events of the race and aftermath casting a shadow over the middle stages of the championship.

Marquez had saved a crash on the Suter in the closing stages of the grand prix only to then pull his bike across the track collide with adversary Espargaro, who had dived for a gap on the inside of the track. Espargaro fell heavily while Marquez, who said he hadn't seen him, took third.

More drama was to follow when a time penalty imposed by Race Direction was almost immediately overturned, causing weeks of legal wrangling as the Pons team took the result to an FIM hearing. Marquez ultimately kept his points and always maintained that he had not been aware Espargaro was there.

The Pons Tuenti HP 40 rider then responded with a win at Silverstone, but Marquez bounced back with convincing victories at Assen and the Sachsenring circuit.

A disappointing fifth place in Mugello, his worst race finish of 2012, was followed by pure dominance when the paddock reached Indianapolis, the new chassis from testing proving to be a successful addition from Suter.

Victory in Brno over Luthi by a narrow margin while Espargaro was third, despite being penalised for overtaking under yellow flags, kept the battle tight between the pair, only for them to again be in each other's company all the way to the line at Misano, with Marquez coming out on top.

Heading to Aragon with a healthy 53-point lead Marquez started the weekend with his worst qualifying performance of the season only to work his way up to second as Espargaro won a thrilling four-way battle to take his first victory since the British Grand Prix and began to chip away at the points deficit.

Motegi was the scene of Marquez's zero-to-hero moment. After not putting the bike in gear on the line and dropping to the back of the field whilst being lucky to not to be hit he then stormed to the front of the pack after just an handful of laps and stood firm for an incredible race win.

There was a mathematical opportunity for the Spanish youngster to be crowned in Malaysia but Marquez lost the front, falling from a title winning position when under pressure from Andrea Iannone.

Espargaro's eleventh as he struggled in the wet was enough to keep his title aspirations alive for one more week, where his win of over sixteen seconds was impressive but still not enough to deny Marquez his second career title.

Reflecting on the championship win Marquez declared his title to be "an incredible feeling, a dream.”

He added: “When you cross the finish line it is a great moment, but it happens very fast. The best bit comes with the celebration with the team.

“It is very satisfying to win the title. At this time I remember the hard times this year, the injuries, the support of my family and team. I cannot help but get emotional.”

The Repsol rider then spoke of the contribution made by his main title rival: “It was a very difficult title victory, because Pol [Espargaro] has not made it at all easy for me and deserves my congratulations for the great season he's had.”

Marquez has come a long way since his debut podium in 2008, at the 125cc Donington Grand Prix won by Scott Redding.

Now about to embark on a move to MotoGP, joining Repsol Honda, Marquez had one clear goal for this year: "I wanted to go up to MotoGP with the title".

That of course means he will again miss out on riding with the #1, as happened when he moved up to Moto2 after his 125cc title, but that does not phase the teenager: “93 is my number and is the one I like to wear.”

Marquez will make his MotoGP debut at the post-race Valencia test on November 13-14.


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