Marc Marquez has become the youngest MotoGP world champion ever after finishing third at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix.
The 20-year-old finished third behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo and team-mate Dani Pedrosa in an absorbing finale
. Marquez rode a cool and mature race at the Spanish track to ensure his maiden title and become the first man since Kenny Roberts in 1978 to win the Premier class in his rookie season.
"This is a dream that comes true," he told BBC Sport after the race. "I cannot explain what I feel."
Lorenzo was the only man who stood a chance of catching Marquez after the rookie’s 39-point lead was scythed down to just 13 in the past couple of races, but even he conceded Marquez’ was a worthy champion.
"Marquez has been a deserving champion,” said the defending champion. “Today is his day."
Lorenzo rode his own perfect race, dashing out of the blocks to lead the first period of the race.
The Yamaha rider tried to slow the pace down and get Marquez caught up in the action, but the following duo of Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista were unable to make any moves on Marquez.
Lorenzo’s tactics looked to have come at a price when he clashed with Pedrosa on lap ten, causing both to run wide and allowing Marquez the lead.
Lorenzo soon regained the lead and, realizing the tactics had tried and failed, sped off to win the race by four seconds.
In a memorable display of camaraderie, Marquez allowed Pedrosa through to take second as he had been leading when Lorenzo shunted him on lap ten and it mattered little to Marquez’ title hopes whether he finished second or third.
Seven-times world champion Valentino Rossi finished fourth, securing fourth place overall in the standings and finishing off a steady season with another typically steady performance.
Cal Crutchlow’s last race with the Tech 3 Yamaha team ended in disappointment as the British rider crashed out on lap ten.
Valencia Grand Prix Results
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 46'10.302
2. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Repsol Honda 46'14.236
3. Marc Marquez (Spa) Repsol Honda 46'17.659
4. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 46'20.881
5. Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Honda Gresini 46'25.267
6. Stefan Bradl (Ger) LCR Honda 46'34.701