Winning a duel that went down to the final laps of the Grand Prix of the Americas, Marc Marquez has become the youngest rider ever to win a premier-class grand prix race. At 20 years, 2 months, and 5 days old on race day, Marquez’s victory breaks the one previously held by American Freddie Spencer, and could very well best Spencer’s previous record on a few more occasions with the 10-round window that still remains.
Taking to Twitter after the race, Spencer congratulated the young Marquez on his record-breaking racing victory by saying, “Great job to Marquez on being the youngest rider ever to win a #motogp race!! I feel very happy for Marc! Truly an incredible moment!! Best!”
Talking about his achievement in the post-race press conference, Marquez stated that “for me it’s another motivation, no? Since I start with MotoGP everything was going so good, but a rider’s first victory is something different — your confidence change a little bit.”
“It’s just a result that looks like everything is going well, but we cannot forget that now we come to some tracks that will be more difficult for us,” he continued modestly. “The victory is so good in just the second race, but I think it will be a difficult fight with these guys every race and to keep this level.”
Making his mark on MotoGP so early in his life and career, it is no wonder that many in the paddock mention Valentino Rossi while talking about Marquez. Talent recognizes talent too. Virtually all the riders in the paddock have spoken highly about the young Spaniard, including Rossi himself.
“Impressive,” said The Doctor simply, after being asked about Marquez. “Win the second race in MotoGP? It’s impressive. It’s not the case [It’s not normal -JB]. He’s a great rider. But also, he is in front in the championship, he take the podium of both the races, and it’s just him and Jorge — he is very fast, he will be very hard to beat him, for sure.”
For a series that for the past decade has been so greatly defined by the talent of Valentino Rossi, many in the paddock wondered what would happen to MotoGP after the nine-time World Champion left the sport. However, with his dominant riding and youthful personality, Marquez could very well be the next-gernation of GP rider that transcends nationalities and the sport’s own barriers.
“I don’t see just a Spanish flag up there. I see an athlete that you can admire — including Valentino Rossi and the rest of the champions who are around,” said Randy Mamola when we talked to him after the race at Austin. “It’s just awesome. I’m sure Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, and Kenny Roberts watched that race on TV and their jaw were on the ground.”
“I think that if he is managed really well, which I believe that he is — he is so grounded. They just need to do the right things,” added Mamola. “If any of these guys went out and sat in that crowd they would be loved. Cal is so funny, so charismatic. Jorge? Same. If you know them, like we know them, they’re different.”
Could MotoGP have found its next golden meal-ticket? Only time will tell, but for now we have many congratulations for the young Marquez, and hopefully the downtown Austin bars don’t card him too often.
Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved