‘What Marquez is doing is simply unbelievable’ says Laureus’ five-time world champion Mick Doohan
September 12, 2014
Victory in the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano on Sunday will be another important step towards a second straight World MotoGP title for Marc Márquez.
Here Laureus World Sports Academy Member Mick Doohan, who won five consecutive 500cc World Championships between 1994 and 1998, assesses Márquez’ remarkable performance this year, in an exclusive interview with Laureus.com.
Laureus.com: The last man to win ten Grand Prix in a row was you. You know what it takes – can you evaluate Marc Marquez achievement in matching that?
Mick Doohan: Marquez has raised the bar in MotoGP this year. He had moved it last year, but this year he has taken it completely to another level. The sport has seen this before with racers like Valentino Rossi, myself and one or two others over the history of the sport and there have been numerous riders to raise the bar at a Grand Prix, here or there, but to remain consistently strong is extremely difficult, especially with today’s machinery. He is a freak and what he is doing with the motor cycle is simply unbelievable. Mentally it is extremely difficult to keep pushing yourself week in week out to be better than the best in the world, no matter which sport you're involved in. Even more so when you’re on top of a motor cycle weighing just 150 kilograms, with 300 plus horsepower, travelling at 350 kilometres per hour.
Laureus.com: Presumably you would agree that with just six races left, Márquez will be world champion again?
Doohan: If he doesn’t win this again, the best rider will not win the title. He is well and truly on his way to his second MotoGP championship and in reality only injury or mechanical failure will prevent him winning in 2014.
Laureus.com: He will (almost certainly) be a double world champion at 21 – why are our world champions getting younger?
Doohan: It is my belief that racers will be younger and younger over the next few years. They are starting younger and being elevated to stronger competition at a younger age each year. Marc started racing on road circuits at the age of 12 and then started his world championship campaign at the age of 15-16 in 2008.
Laureus.com: Is there anything special about his racing style or mental strength you would identify as the reason for his success?
Doohan: His strongest point is being able to control the bike when it is moving or sliding from underneath him. He has extreme confidence and a belief that he will win no matter what. His ability to recover from an almost certain crash situation is truly remarkable.
Laureus.com: If anyone can catch him, who could that be?
Doohan: Marc’s rivals are all very competitive and will not stop pushing to try and bridge the gap. He will be beaten, but at this stage I believe he will remain in a class of his own for the foreseeable future, as long as he is willing to push himself to be better each time he is on the bike.
Laureus.com: As Spaniards, are Pedrosa and Márquez driving each other on?
Doohan: To a degree, but Márquez wants to beat everyone. Having a strong team-mate helps with bike development as well as the motivation to be the first bike of your team across the line. After all he is the only rider on the track with the same machinery. But Pedrosa is not the only competitive Spaniard; Márquez also has to contend with Lorenzo.
Laureus.com: How much is Márquez success down to his Honda bike or him?
Doohan: There is no doubting the Honda is a great machine, but equally Pedrosa has the same bike. MotoGP is a different animal than Formula One. The car will make the biggest difference in F1, whereas that is not the case with MotoGP. In MotoGP the rider really has the biggest influence on the result. In saying that, the motor cycle needs to be somewhere within the competitive ball park. Although at this stage of Marc Márquez’s career I think he could almost race any machine and put it on the top step of the podium, maybe not as consistently, but I also would not want to wager too much money on that either.
Laureus.com: Marc Márquez is a Laureus Ambassador – do you applaud great sports stars showing social responsibility?
Doohan: Absolutely, Marc is great Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. He is a well-balanced individual who recognises that he can help.