Newly crowned MotoGP champion Marc Marquez says his record-breaking title is yet to sink in after a whirlwind rookie season.
The 20-year-old won six races on his way to becoming the first rider since Kenny Roberts in 1978 to win the championship in his debut season. Despite graduating to the premier class as a factory Honda rider, and as the Moto2 world champion, Marquez – the youngest rider to win the crown – insists he never expected such a successful first year.
“Still I’m in a dream, I hope soon I will start to realize [what I’ve achieved],” he said. “The season was quite interesting. In many circuits, nearly every race, I had some moments. But we learned, and the second half of the season there were still a few crashes, but a little bit less.
“I learned many things about all the riders, especially in the first part of the season, and we’ve had a couple of bad moments this season. But I’m in the dream, I’m enjoying the moment.”
Having suffered several high-profile crashes in practice and qualifying this year, and a race-ending high-side at Mugello while running second, Marquez adopted a different philosophy for the Valencia decider.
As title rival Jorge Lorenzo battled with his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa right in front of him, Marquez refrained from getting involved – but admitted it was difficult for him not to attack and ride for the win.
“In the first few laps I was nervous and stiff on the bike,” he said. “In front of the fans it was difficult to stay in third position. Something inside me was saying, ‘You need to fight.’
“But I was clever: I understood the championship was more important than one race. It was maybe the longest race in my career, but the last lap was so nice.”