Marc Marquez is today within reach of MotoGP history at the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday.
This talented and quick Spanish kid, is just a handful of points away from becoming the very first rookie rider in 35 years to win the MotoGP title. The last being United States’ Kenny Roberts in 1978.
While absolutely nothing is impossible in racing, it’s hard to see just how fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo can today stop Marquez becoming champ.
At best, Lorenzo can only delay giving his title but to do that he is required to win at Phillip Island on Sunday.
Marquez’s managed 2nd in the Malaysian Grand Prix, with Lorenzo 3rd, which will see him carry a 43-point lead to Phillip Island on Sunday.
He requires a 50-point buffer after the Australian GP to be crowned champ, even with two races to go.
Marquez has had a fantastic period against some extremely strong competitors, whom are all on bikes capable of winning.
Marquez has been trying to avoid the burden of all his title predictions, but the reality of it all hit him 10 laps into the competition at Sepang on Sunday.
He had an option. Go for it and attempt to chase straight down his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa for victory or vie for a protected 2nd spot, knowing that he had complete control over Lorenzo’s Yamaha in 3rd spot.
For the very first time, Marquez switched his brain to the championship – that occurs when you get near – and he put aside his frequently high-risk strategy to go for points.
It had been clever reasoning and proof of his potential in the sport. He has built his self-confidence with six victories this period, which has assisted him forgot the setbacks of some quick and imaginably nasty crashes.
Before the Sepang competition, there had been some tensions with both Lorenzo and Pedrosa making it clear they didn’t value Marquez’s robust racing in previous races.
But I had no issue with the series of overtakes that Lorenzo and Marquez performed in the Sepang competition.
Whenever provided with a space, Lorenzo nudged Marquez in one pass and then, a few laps later on, Marquez revealed he wasn’t likely to be intimidated.
He squeezed Lorenzo for space and edged him out on to the kerb.
Lorenzo wasn’t thrilled with the move and had to come down on throttle and concede track place. It had been a bit cheeky by Marquez but an outside pass is always more than likely to fail.
The man on the inside is the one that is likely to make the track broader than it truly is and Marquez did simply that.
This has all helped to set the scene for an intense battle at Phillip Island, no longer in title contention, Pedrosa is having a strong late-season and could win the Australian GP. But they are only by-standers in what has now become a two rider race for the title.
Lorenzo is never one to give up easily and he’ll fancy his chances of delaying Marquez’s title by trying to finish ahead of him. But Marquez has delivered a clear message with his determination and by choosing a strategic 2nd spot in Sepang.
He may be a 20-year-old rookie but he is looking more of a World Champ now than ever before.