Marc Marquez Wraps Up 2019 With Triple Crown For Honda At Valencia

Marc Marquez single-handedly won Honda the MotoGP Triple Crown in 2019
  • 2019 has been a spectacular season for Marquez showing us why he is truly one of the greatest riders of all time
  • Marquez has won 12 races and the gap to his closest competitor in the points standings is a staggering 151 points
  • The 2019 MotoGP season may be over, but the action for next season is just around the corner

The 2019 MotoGP season has been all sorts of exciting, and the Valencia MotoGP was the perfect way for the season to sign off. Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez dazzled us once again with his talent — just as he has all season long. His win helped Repsol Honda beat the Ducati works team and claim the Teams’ Championship. Here’s what makes it even more special — Repsol Honda have never actually led the Teams’ Championship before this season. Incredibly, this outcome allows Marquez and Honda to complete the coveted Triple Crown once again this season — winning the Riders’, Teams’ and Constructors’ Championships — 2019 marking a hat-trick of Triple Crowns for the team! There is simply no greater testimony of the sheer dominance and power that the Marquez-Honda pairing has had over the sport in recent years.

Second place at the Valencia MotoGP went to Fabio Quartararo of SRT Yamaha, while Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller took the final spot on the podium.

Marquez has a ‘perfect season’

2019 has been a spectacular season for Marquez — showing us why he is truly one of the greatest riders of all time. He finishes the season with 420 points which is statistically the greatest single-season in MotoGP history. Marquez has won 12 races and the gap to his closest competitor in the points standings is a staggering 151 points. His consistency has been unparalleled — his lowest finish all season long is second, apart from his DNF in Austin. While it is true that the Teams’ and Constructors’ championships are a collective effort, Marquez brought them home almost single-handedly. In the Teams’ championship, he scored more than 90% of Repsol Honda’s points while in the Constructors’ championship, he is responsible for 98% of Honda’s points. If that isn’t sheer dominance, what is?

At Valencia, Marquez started from P2 on the grid but fell to sixth after the first corner. He clawed his way back and took the lead from Quartararo, before pulling away from the field to the chequered flag. Shared a triumphant Marquez after the race: “(It) was a difficult weekend, because we tried many things, but we work very, very hard, all the team, and yeah, was one goal this weekend, that was trying to win the race and try to achieve the Teams’ championship.”

Marquez also called it a “perfect season.” He admitted, “Will be difficult to repeat, but now it’s time to enjoy it — Tuesday starts 2020 season, but anyway amazing to finish in this way.”

Quartararo: Independent rider of the season

All season long, we’ve been impressed by young Quartarao’s talent — and how he has eclipsed far more experienced riders in his rookie season. In fact, an official post on the MotoGP website asked if Quartararo was the ‘best rookie since Marquez.’ His brilliance in qualifying was on display once again in Valencia, as he grabbed pole — his sixth of the season. The only rider with more poles in his rookie season is Marquez (9 poles).

During the race, Quartararo was unable to hold off Marquez — as has been a recurring story all through the season. He eventually finished in second place, taking his seventh podium of the season. This result allowed Quartararo to claim the Independent Riders’ title — along with the top rookie honour which he has already claimed. Shared a delighted Quartararo, “Who imagined that at the end of the season we’d have six pole positions, seven podiums? Can’t ask for more, really. That’s the work of the team, myself, we work so hard. I take the opportunity because everybody told us that I didn’t deserve this seat in MotoGP, I wanted to prove that they are wrong. Unbelievable to finish the season in this way.” Next season, we are rooting for Quartararo to win his first-ever MotoGP — a milestone he came awfully close to several times this season.

Best of the rest: Miller, Dovizioso and Vinales

Miller finished in third and called it his “best race to date.” The Pramac Ducati rider started in P3 and was always in the mix due to his Ducati’s reputation for lightning getaways. He shared, “(I was) consistent, stayed there, was chasing Fabio. I started coming back towards him, felt I had a second wind for a bit there.”

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took fourth place — true to his prediction on Saturday that he would probably be fighting for fourth at best, because the top three had a “different pace.” Dovizioso may have failed to challenge Marquez as often this season, but finished as the ‘best of the rest’ behind him in the championship. This is itself a noteworthy feat given how close and competitive the grid has been this year.

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales was finally able to close third place in the championship with a neat sixth-place finish at Valencia. It has been a memorable season for Vinales, who comfortably outperformed his much-feted teammate (Valentino Rossi) and also won two races. Speaking of Rossi, he struggled to a disappointing eight place finish at Valencia. He explained after the race that “more or less the problem is always the same, I don’t have enough rear grip so I’m not particularly fast.” He hopes the team will be able to turn things around for 2020.

Lorenzo retires, will Alex Marquez replace him?

Valencia marked five-times champion Jorge Lorenzo’s last MotoGP outing as the Spaniard retired from active racing. He finished in 13th place — capping off a rather disappointing and injury-filled season. Speculation in the paddock suggests that Marquez’s brother Alex (reigning 2019 Moto2 World Champion) may be called upon to replace Lorenzo. This would make the Marquez brothers teammates — a rather interesting possibility. However, Marc Marquez downplayed things, saying, “But my target will be to win the world championship and do my best on my side of the box — doesn’t matter who is my teammate.” he added that there were several riders apart from Alex who could replace Lorenzo, and it was not in his hands.

The 2019 MotoGP season may be over, but the action for next season is just around the corner. The 2020 Valencia pre-season test gets underway on Tuesday, 19 November. Brand new machinery will be seen on track as the rest of the grid puts all their might into beating the Marquez-Repsol Honda pairing.

This post was first published on Firstpost.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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