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Marc Márquez – the Messi, Woods, Federer, Bolt and Hendrix of MotoGP | Richard Williams


Spaniard’s fifth world title displayed his ability to create a spectacle that leaves everyone, including rival riders, shaking their heads in wonderment

On Sunday at the Motegi circuit in Japan, Marc Márquez pulled off what Lewis Hamilton could not quite manage to achieve 15 hours later and 6,500 miles away in Texas: he won his fifth world championship in the top tier of his sport with three races to go. Now he stands level with Mick Doohan, the Australian ace of the 1990s, and only two titles away from Valentino Rossi’s seven and three from Giacomo Agostini, who won his eight championships between 1966 and 1975.

The Catalan’s five MotoGP titles have come in the six seasons since he graduated from Moto2. As he is only 25, and there is no sign that success is taking the edge off his appetite, there is every likelihood he will match and then surpass Agostini’s total. This would be a fair reflection of a talent that could be likened to those displayed by Lionel Messi in football, Brian Lara in cricket, Simone Biles in gymnastics and Roger Federer in tennis: the ability to take a given set of parameters and bend them into new shapes, creating a spectacle that leaves everyone, including their rivals, shaking their heads in wonderment.

Related: Lewis Hamilton shares blame with team over failure to close out F1 title race

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