Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode a heroic race to second place in this afternoon’s season-ending Valencia Grand Prix and by doing so helped Honda secure a record-making 22nd MotoGP Constructors World Championship.
The 23-year-old Spaniard, who won his third MotoGP Riders World Championship at last month’s Japanese Grand Prix, had a bad start from the front row of the grid, losing time as his RC213V lifted its front wheel on the run towards the first corner. By the end of the first lap he found himself in down in fifth place, with four of the world’s fastest riders just ahead of him: eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), Andrea Iannone (Ducati), Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) ahead of him.
While Marquez spent the first half of the race battling back and forth with Iannone, Vinales and Rossi, Lorenzo made the break out front. At one point the 2015 champion had extended his lead to five seconds, but then Marquez broke clear of the contest for second place and started eating into the leader’s advantage at an astonishing rate. On lap 21 Lorenzo led his compatriot by 5.3 seconds; five laps later the gap was down to 2.7 seconds. And Marquez kept charging, taking another whole second out of the leader to reduce to gap to just 1.7 seconds. However, time was running out. Marquez had only one lap left in which to catch and pass the leader; surely an impossibility, but even then he didn’t give up and kept closing on the leader, finally crossing the finish line just 1.2 seconds behind.
The ride was certainly one of Marquez’ best of the season, which has yielded him five victories, four second-place finishes and three third places.
Honda is delighted with its unique 22nd success in the Constructors World Championship. The company won its first premier-class constructors title at its first attempt in 1966 with the RC181 four-cylinder four-stroke. Between 1983 and 1985 Honda won three more titles with its NS500 and NSR500 two-strokes. From 1989 to 1999 it won another eight constructors crowns with the NSR500 two-stroke, including a run of six consecutive successes from 1994 to 1999. Honda’s final two-stroke constructors title came in 2001, the last year of the 500cc championship. Since the advent of MotoGP in 2002, Honda have won nine more constructors crowns with the RC211V, the RC212V and the current RC213V.