The exceptional thing this year is that, as Marquez put it, previously “the difference between the bikes was greater.” In 2013, only Honda and Yamaha won races. “This year, four bikes have been capable of winning [Suzuki and Ducati had joined the gang]. But we were always there.”
Some think he has already ousted Rossi as the Greatest of All Time; but this is somewhat premature – particularly since Rossi is still an active rider, and in his own mind at least hasn’t finished winning yet.
There was another remarkable statistic this year, clocked up by Rossi. The one-time teenage sensation, later dominant rider and nowadays elder statesman (at 40 the oldest on the grid) clocked up 400 starts at the Australian GP in October, having already long since eclipsed the previous record of 328, set by Loris Capirossi, who retired in 2011. (Dovizioso, still active, is next, with 312 at the time of writing.)
Considering Rossi’s prowess plus the length of his career – 24 years and counting, and 20 in 500cc/MotoGP – it’s not surprising he is the winningest rider in the premier class, with 89 wins, ahead of Agostini (68).
But Marquez, in the top class for just seven years, is third, with 55, one more than previous third-placer Mick Doohan.