Marc Márquez did it his way

Marc Márquez has successfully defended his MotoGP World Championship title. And he did it in the way that only he knows how. We take a look back at the thrilling 2017 MotoGP season.

Marc Márquez consistently causes his fellow MotoGP contestants to despair. It’s bad enough for the likes of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo that the number 93 rider is blessed with incredible speed, but what’s even worse is that the laws of physics do not seem to apply in his case.

Márquez repeatedly saved himself with catlike reflexes this season – situations that would have caused any other rider to immediately take a tumble. How many times did we blink twice in awe, wondering how this magician consistently manages to use his entire body to pull his Repsol Honda upright and calmly continue the race?

Yes, I had 27 crashes, but I learnt something

Marc Márquez

No one understands the high-risk game he is playing other than the man himself. Even in the grand finale at Valencia, he declined to ride a controlled race. Instead, he went all in and almost lost everything with a near crash. “That was Márquez style right through to the end,” he joked afterwards. The pride in “doing it his own way” is apparent from Márquez’s permanently broad grin.

If there was ever a song that epitomized Marc Márquez’s achievements on racetracks all around the world, it would certainly be Frank Sinatra’s 1969 hit “My Way.” Though it’s probably not on the Spaniard’s favorite playlist, you can almost imagine him singing the lyrics, if not to a slightly more modern tune:

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

Now, nearly half a century later, in a challenging and problematic year that got off to a slow start with a big points deficit. All told, the reigning champion crashed 27 times, walking away from every one of them a much better rider he says. “Yes, I had 27 crashes, but I learnt something,” he explained. “That gives me some…I don’t know how I can explain, but some feeling on the bike.”

Márquez said in 2017 he’d be “all in.” He stayed true to himself and took that approach all the way to the 2017 MotoGP World Championship title:

Dovizioso pushes Márquez to the limit

And he had to, because the competition was not far behind. Leading the way was Andrea Dovizioso – a man who equaled Márquez’s six wins and earned eight trips to the podium. The Italian pushed his Spanish rival to the limit and beyond in 2017, forcing him to fight hard for the title right up to the final few laps.

Once considered one of the sport’s brightest prospects, Dovizioso has experienced more than his fair share of setbacks in a career stretching back over 15 years. He first lined up for the MotoGP World Championship in 2008 and claimed his maiden win the following year. But two years later, despite finishing the season in third place, Repsol Honda showed him the door.

He was a great opponent. Incredibly fast and consistent.

Marc Márquez

The frustrating, winless six years that followed were spent on the Yamaha customer racing team of Tech3 and the struggling Ducati factory team. But Dovi, as he is known around the paddock, remained steadfast and worked incredibly hard. His efforts were finally rewarded in 2017.

Márquez was full of praise for Dovizioso: “He was a great opponent. Incredibly fast and consistent.”

Yamaha fail to maintain initial form

In the early stages of the season, Maverick Vinales looked the odds-on favorite for the title, having clocked the best times in all four winter tests and won the first two races. Victory number three followed in the fifth Grand Prix of the year at Le Mans. But from then on, everything went downhill for the Spaniard. The 2017 Yamaha was unable to cope with poor grip conditions, and the more the team tinkered with it, the more they disrupted Vinales in his first real attempt at the world championship. In the second half of the season, he was hopelessly outgunned by Márquez and Dovizioso.

The performance of Vinales’s teammate and MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi followed a similar curve, albeit taking a sharper decline. From leading the standings after three races, he had to content himself with fifth at the end of the year. This was in part due to two accidents while training on off-road bikes. Indeed, he had to miss his home race in Misano after fracturing a tibia and fibula. 2018 could well be the last season for “Il Dottore,” at which point he will almost certainly hand over his King of MotoGP crown to Marc Márquez.

Our way

It’s been nothing less than thrilling to follow the race action this year. You might call it our prize for managing the MotoGP logistics race. It was a demanding time – especially in October  – but also a very rewarding time. We may have taken a tumble here and there, but each time we got back up and continued to do it our way, chalking it up as another learning experience in our 35+ years of handling motorsports logistics. We think Marc Márquez would approve.

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