MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
“I’m happy I don’t race with Marc!”
Five-time World Superbike king Jonathan Rea evaluates the talent of six-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez as the Spaniard aims to continue his march into history at Jerez on Sunday
Every year is a big year for Marc Márquez but 2020 will resonate more than most, if he can retain the MotoGP world title. So far the 27-year-old has won eight world championships – six in MotoGP, one each in Moto2 and 125s. If he does win this year’s MotoGP crown he will equal Valentino Rossi’s tally of nine world titles – seven in the premier class, one in 250s and one in 125s. That would be an important milestone.
Most racers deny any interest in records and racing history, until they grow older and become more aware of their place in the world. Mick Doohan, Honda’s most successful grand prix racer until Márquez took that record last summer, insisted records meant nothing to him, until the all-time 500cc victory record of Giacomo Agostini hove into view; then he thought seriously about trying to beat it, until serious injury stopped him in his tracks.
Márquez has won 82 GPs across all classes, with only Ángel Nieto (90), Rossi (115) and Ago (122) ahead of him. But you could argue – and Doohan certainly did – that the only statistic that really counts is premier-class wins. “In F1 they don’t count F3000, do they?” scowled Doohan.
So far Márquez has won 56 MotoGP races, so he needs another 34 victories to overtake Rossi as the most successful premier-class racer of all time. According to his latest contract with Honda, he has five seasons – 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 – in which to reach that target. He will make it if he can win an average of 6.8 races per season, slightly below his current five-year average of 7.4 victories.
The target is within his sights, so long as he stays hungry and healthy.
Perhaps the best man to assess Márquez’s talent is Jonathan Rea, who has made his own history in World Superbike, where he has won more titles and races than any other rider.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.