Throughout the 2010s, Marc Marquez dominated the premier class of motorcycle racing. After clinching his first title in 2013, the Spaniard would end the decade as a six-time MotoGP champion. However, his pursuit of leveling Valentino Rossi’s seven 500cc championships in 2020 ended before it began.
At the opening race of the calendar in Barcelona, the 27-year-old suffered a season-ending injury that rendered him unable to defend his title. As such, new stars rose to the challenge and seized the opportunity in Marquez’s absence. So, the sport could be quite different when the Spaniard returns in 2021.
Hampered by Injury
In July 2020, Marquez went to the hospital after fracturing his right humerus during the closing laps of the Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana. The 27-year-old was on course to begin the 2020 campaign with a promising result, after getting into third position. Unfortunately, as he closed in on a much-wanted podium, Marquez’s Honda high-sided, leaving him with serious injuries, as per the official MotoGP website.
Despite the severity of the injury, the six-time MotoGP champion opted to return to action five days later. Although he looked impressive during both practice and qualifying for the Andalusian Grand Prix, his attempt to race so soon after the incident further aggravated his injuries. It’s a credit to his mentality that he targeted competition again in 2020, but it was decided that he would sit out the remainder of the campaign and instead work on rehabilitation.
Unfortunately for motorsports fans, Marquez’s injury denied the racing world the opportunity to crown two seven-time world champions in the same year. In Formula One, Lewis Hamilton equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of titles and is a -250 favorite at motorsports betting to win his eighth drivers’ championship in 2020, as of December 14th.
The Emergence of New Challengers
Marquez’s absence opened up the opportunity for the next generation of competitors to fight for the championship. Indeed, Kevin Schwantz, a former world champion with Suzuki, suggested that the sport will be different from the one Marquez left due to the array of riders finding pace. Ultimately, the 2020 title was won by Joan Mir, who became the third Spanish champion since the turn of the millennium. Not only that, but he was also the first Suzuki rider to clinch the trophy since Kenny Roberts Jr. back in 2000.
Although Marquez labeled Mir as a deserving champion, his comments weren’t completely complimentary towards the class of 2020. The 27-year-old stated that his fellow Spaniard won the title through consistency, and without having to do anything special, as per Motorsport. Moreover, ahead of his return, Marquez has already spoken of his desire to take the crown back from Mir. Equally, Mir is eager to have on-track battles with the six-time champion.
Marquez May Need Time to Adjust
Nobody can dispute the fact that Marquez is one of the most successful riders to ever compete in MotoGP. That said, for all of his dominance over the past decade, the 27-year-old is no longer in a position to defend his crown, as that honor now lies with Mir. While it’s impossible to predict what the future holds, the next installment of MotoGP has the potential to offer edge-of-the-seat excitement from the first race to the last.
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