MotoGP review: Marvellous Marc Márquez

MotoGP review: Marvellous Marc Márquez

11 December 2016 – A dismal pre-season campaign left Marc Márquez seemingly adrift of the leading pack. He then changed his approach, focused on consistency, and emerged with the 2016 world title. GPUpdate.net looks back on the MotoGP season and how Márquez managed to claim a third premier class crown in four years.

Qatar Grand Prix
Grid: 2nd | Race: 3rd
Podium: Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Márquez
Points: Lorenzo 25, Dovizioso 18, Márquez 15

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo picked up where he left off and dominated beneath the lights at Qatar's Losail circuit. Lorenzo's form left Márquez to duel with Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and the other Yamaha of Valentino Rossi. Dovizioso utilised Ducati's fearsome straight-line speed to take second but Márquez was able to keep Rossi at bay to finish on the podium.

Argentine Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: 1st
Podium: Márquez, Rossi, Pedrosa
Points: Márquez 41, Rossi 33, Pedrosa 27

Márquez embarked in an epic tête-à-tête with Rossi across the first half of a wet race at Rio Hondo, with a mid-distance bike change compulsory due to tyre concerns. Márquez cruised away from Rossi over the second half to chalk up his first victory of the year, while Lorenzo crashed out early on. Ducati appeared on course for a strong result until Andrea Iannone wiped out Dovizioso at the end.

Grand Prix of the Americas
Grid: 1st | Race: 1st
Podium: Márquez, Lorenzo, Iannone
Points: Márquez 66, Lorenzo 45, Rossi 33

Márquez typically dominated at the Circuit of the Americas, maintaining his imperious record, with his riding style, allied to the characteristics of Honda's RC213V, perfectly suited to Austin's layout. Márquez ultimately beat Lorenzo by six seconds, with Iannone third, while Rossi crashed out at Turn 2 and Dani Pedrosa clattered into Dovizioso in a scary-looking incident at Turn 1.

Spanish Grand Prix
Grid: 3rd | Race: 3rd
Podium: Rossi, Lorenzo, Márquez
Points: Márquez 82, Lorenzo 65, Rossi 58

MotoGP returned to Europe at the Spanish Grand Prix, where a dominant Rossi put in a flawless performance from pole position, ahead of Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo. Márquez, meanwhile, collected more valuable points by settling for third position, a few seconds clear of team-mate Pedrosa.

French Grand Prix
Grid: 2nd | Race: 13th
Podium: Lorenzo, Rossi, Viñales
Points: Lorenzo 90, Márquez 85, Rossi 78

Lorenzo re-emerged at the front of the field with a peerless display at Le Mans' Bugatti Circuit, but in a bizarre incident, Márquez and Dovizioso crashed simultaneously while rounding the left-hander of La Musée. Márquez remounted and trailed home in 13th position, but he lost the lead of the standings to Lorenzo.

Italian Grand Prix
Grid: 4th | Race: 2nd
Podium: Lorenzo, Márquez, Iannone
Points: Lorenzo 115, Márquez 105, Rossi 78

Rossi held the aces at Mugello but a dramatic engine failure robbed him of a potential victory and significantly dented his title aspirations. Rossi's exit cleared the way for Lorenzo and Márquez to embark on an epic duel, with the pair swapping positions several times, before Lorenzo edged ahead on the drag to the line by just 0.019s in a thrilling finish.

Catalan Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: 2nd
Podium: Rossi, Márquez, Pedrosa
Points: Márquez 125, Lorenzo 115, Rossi 103

MotoGP's race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya took place in sombre circumstances following the tragic practice incident which killed Moto2 rider Luis Salom. The remainder of the weekend went ahead, with the final chicane installed, and Rossi beat Márquez to the flag, with the pair shaking hands afterwards, while Lorenzo was eliminated by a wayward Iannone.

Dutch TT
Grid: 4th | Race: 2nd
Podium: Miller, Márquez, Redding
Points: Márquez 145, Lorenzo 121, Rossi 103

In a crazy race at a wet Assen, Márquez escaped the drama to take second position, opting to ride conservatively after being overhauled by a flying Jack Miller. Márquez admitted he took a cautious approach, with the title in mind, after Rossi crashed out in the atrocious weather and Lorenzo rounded out the top 10, having desperately struggled for pace.

German Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: 1st
Podium: Márquez, Crutchlow, Dovizioso
Points: Márquez 170, Lorenzo 122, Rossi 111

Márquez maintained his impressive Sachsenring record but achieved it in spectacular circumstances. He slipped down the order in the wet and skated through the gravel at Turn 9, but remained upright and chose to pit for slicks. His decision proved inspired as he sliced through the pack, with the circuit drying, to inherit the lead, as Rossi tumbled to eighth and Lorenzo struggled once more.

Austrian Grand Prix
Grid: 5th | Race: 5th
Podium: Iannone, Dovizioso, Lorenzo
Points: Márquez 181, Lorenzo 138, Rossi 124

MotoGP returned to Spielberg and the nature of the circuit – short straights punctuated by heavy braking zones – suited the Ducati, with Iannone leading a 1-2, but accentuated Honda's weaknesses. Márquez was also compounded by a heavy crash during practice, during which he hit the ground to avoid an errant Pedrosa. In the circumstances, fifth place, with no serious injury, proved to be a damage-limitation job.

Czech Republic Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: 3rd
Podium: Crutchlow, Rossi, Márquez
Points: Márquez 197, Rossi 144, Lorenzo 138

Márquez took pole position at Brno but the race was affected by inclement weather conditions once more and front tyre wear became critical for several riders. Cal Crutchlow went on to take his maiden MotoGP victory, having run the Hard tyre and stayed patient, while Márquez slipped to third, behind Rossi, but again limited the damage in the standings.

British Grand Prix
Grid: 5th | Race: 4th
Podium: Viñales, Crutchlow, Rossi
Points: Márquez 210, Rossi 160, Lorenzo 146

Crutchlow sent the home fans wild with pole but Maverick Viñales mastered Silverstone to end Suzuki's win drought, claiming his maiden victory in the process. Márquez, meanwhile, became involved in a four-way scrap for second, but went wide at Stowe in the closing stages and had to settle for fourth spot, though neither of his primary opponents won.

San Marino Grand Prix
Grid: 4th | Race: 4th
Podium: Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo
Points: Márquez 223, Rossi 180, Lorenzo 162

Márquez put in a subdued performance at Misano, with his tyre selection backfiring and leaving him unable to maintain the pace of the frontrunners. Rossi looked set for victory but a stellar performance from Pedrosa vaulted the Spaniard to the head of the pack, in front of both Yamahas, while Márquez collected a distant fourth.

Aragón Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: 1st
Podium: Márquez, Lorenzo, Rossi
Points: Márquez 248, Rossi 196, Lorenzo 182

Márquez returned to form with pole at Aragón and saved a moment through Turn 7 when he came perilously close to hitting the deck. Márquez, despite losing several places, regrouped and surged back to the front of the field, emerging victorious in dry conditions for only the second time all season.

Japanese Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: 1st
Podium: Márquez, Dovizioso, Viñales
Points: Márquez 273, Rossi 196, Lorenzo 182

Márquez headed to Honda's home circuit with an extremely slim chance of clinching the title, but the stars aligned on race day at Motegi. Rossi crashed out, handing Márquez the opportunity to become champion, but the presence of Lorenzo left the champagne on ice. However, Lorenzo also fell with five laps to go, Márquez just about kept his concentration, and took the title with a win.

Australian Grand Prix
Grid: 1st | Race: DNF
Podium: Crutchlow, Rossi, Viñales
Points: Márquez 273, Rossi 216, Lorenzo 192

Márquez, off the hook following his title win, reverted to previous form and took one risk too many, falling under braking for Turn 4 and destroying his RC213V, leaving him out of a race for the first time all season. In cool and challenging conditions, Crutchlow went on to win, while Rossi and Viñales completed the podium positions.

Malaysian Grand Prix
Grid: 4th | Race: 11th
Podium: Dovizioso, Rossi, Lorenzo
Points: Márquez 278, Rossi 236, Lorenzo 208

Wet weather struck at Sepang and Márquez was involved in the fight at the sharp end before he slipped up at Turn 11, dropping the front end into the gravel. Márquez remounted and climbed his way back to 11th spot, gaining a few points, while Dovizioso took his first win since 2009.

Valencian Grand Prix
Grid: 2nd | Race: 2nd
Podium: Lorenzo, Márquez, Iannone
Points: Márquez 298, Rossi 249, Lorenzo 233

Márquez started from the front row as Lorenzo dominated from pole position, hammering out a substantial advantage, while the Honda rider got wrapped up with Iannone and Rossi. Márquez nonetheless dealt with the Italians and put in a late charge, but fell a second shy of demoting Lorenzo.

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