Marc Marquez winning the MotoGP World Championship as a rookie surprised most in MotoGP, including some of Honda's biggest names.

Speaking to the media during the Valencia test on Wednesday, Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC's vice-president, and Livio Suppo, the Team Principal of Repsol Honda, both admitted that Marquez had far exceeded their expectations.

When asked to assess the progress made by Marquez over the course of 2013 Nakamoto specified the Spaniard's ability to maximise tyre life during races as being a key area of improvement.

"Before the season started we didn't expect Marc to win the championship this year," said Nakamoto. "Our expectation was that he would win several races but that he would also crash. He learned quickly how to ride the MotoGP machine and usually a rookie struggles to maintain the lap times to the end of the race because the MotoGP machine is usually a 'tyre eater.' But at Assen Marc had understood how to manage the tyre to the end of the race."

Suppo, who previously worked with the likes of Casey Stoner, was likewise impressed. The Italian highlighted the new world champion's mental strength in the face of adversity as the season drew to a close.

"Marc has been a surprise," said Suppo. "We expected him to be fast but his consistency has been unbelievable and the way that he has managed the pressure, both at Philip Island and Valencia.

"The reaction he had after [the black flag at] Philip Island was amazing and he was able to not create any stress and kept the smile on his face. He kept the team very strong and working in a positive way. Here [at Valencia] the way that he approached the weekend and managed the race was perfect."

Turning specifically to Sunday's high pressure title showdown with Yamaha's reigning double champion Jorge Lorenzo, Suppo added:

"Jorge did a very good to slow the rhythm at the start but it wasn't enough and then he tried to push to try and help Marc make a mistake, but he didn't do it. It's been impressive to see a young rider so mature and so able to manage difficult situations."

Marquez and Honda are already preparing for 2014, with post-race testing ongoing at Valencia. Suppo is not underestimating the challenge facing Honda as it seeks to retain the Riders', Constructors' and Team titles:

"We're happy with both riders [Marquez and Dani Pedrosa] and looking forward to next year in a positive way. We know that Jorge is Jorge and we know that even if Marc has won as a rookie next year will be difficult and we start from zero.

"There are new regulations, the 20 litres of fuel and the new ECU, so it will be technically a big challenge and also for Dani and Marc it will be difficult because we know that Jorge is a great competitor."



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