“Marc Marquez. New star? Or Harbringer of boredom?”

Phenomenal. Outstanding. Incredible. A new legend. These are just some of the terms to describe Marc Marquez since his MotoGP debut last year. The reigning 2013 World Champion has shocked the world on numerous occasions, and is in the process of rewriting the history books.

Just to put his career in the top class to date into context, last weekend’s race in Catalunya was Marquez’s 25th in the top class, and in that time, he’s won more than half the races he’s entered (13), with 15 pole positions, 16 fastest laps, and in 23 out of his 25 races, he’s finished on the podium. These numbers are just outrageous and unprecedented for a rider in just his second season, who has just so happened to have won ALL 7 of 7 races so far for a perfect 175 points.

But this magnitude of success comes with a problem, and for that, you have to dig deep into an issue with modern Motorsport itself, and that is the relationship with its fans, and the perception of excitement and entertainment.

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Now, I’ve been a massive fan of Formula 1 and MotoGP for a good while now. And there is something I’ve noticed, especially more recently in the explosion of Social Media in more recent years, is that a lot of the time in Motorsport, fans don’t like it when one person dominates a sport, often labelling it “boring”, and generally, getting tired of the same person/team winning over and over again.

So, is Marc Marquez’s dominance a bad thing for MotoGP as a sport? It’s hard to say, and here’s why.

The last period of dominance in MotoGP wasn’t really that long ago; still in my lifetime, and it was Valentino Rossi, the most decorated rider in the modern era. Between the years of 2001 and 2005, he won 5 straight 500cc/MotoGP Championships, with 2 different manufacturers, and in that time span, he won 51 out of 81 races. But why did no-one call for competitive balance back then? Or people rooting against “The Doctor”?

I think there’s a range of reasons. First of all, there was a heated rivalry on and off the track between Rossi himself, and two of his fiercest rivals through that run, Sete Gibernau, and Max Biaggi. This definitely attracted more viewers to watch, like a murder scene in a soap opera, you can’t turn away because you want to find out what happens next. Very similar to the recent Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fallout in Formula 1 after the Monaco weekend.

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But I think the biggest factor for it, was Valentino Rossi himself. He was a breath of fresh air to a sport that lacked characters and personalities. Rossi has an unbelievable amount of charisma and charm, and his personality, creativity and showmanship captivated
thousands of fans around the world , and got a new generation of viewers watching.

Some of the antics that the ever-growing “46 fan club” were unreal, such as Rossi taking a toilet break after winning the World Championship in a portable toilet, or playing bowling with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made for incredible TV, a true spectacle that only put the sport in a positive light, despite Rossi being so dominant at the same time.

And if anything, in more recent years, MotoGP has been spoilt for choice in terms of talent coming through, and as a result, Rossi had been joined in the upper echelon by other top talents, such as Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and now, Marc Marquez. And as a result, the racing was far more competitive, which is what I think more modern Motorsport fans want to see – unpredictability, uncertainty. I don’t think any sports fan in general WANTS to go into an event being able to confidently predict the winner.

The thing with Marquez is, he doesn’t have the same amazing character as Valentino, but he’s still a top role model to carry the spot. Boyish charm,

always smiling, very intelligent and is a hit with the female audience. And if anything, he’s probably still finding his true nature in the sport, considering he’s still only 21 years of age.

And if you dig a little deeper, despite Marquez winning the World Championship last year, and winning 7 of 7 this year, if you dig a little deeper, he’s had some truly fantastic scraps in his top class career to date. This season alone, if you ignore the results, Mugello, Catalunya and Losail were tremendous races, battles going all the way to the wire. So despite the winner being the same, the action has been just as good, if not better than it’s ever been.

Furthermore, if you look at the grandstands, noticed the growing Marquez section in the stands? It now rivals Lorenzo’s and Valentino’s in terms of size. I suspect his success, has attracted more new fans, a bandwagon so to speak. If more eyes are watching, is that ever really a “bad” thing?

To sum up, is Marquez ‘bad for the sport’? He’s only been here for 25 races, but his impact is so massive, it’s a question definitely worth asking, following the patterns and trends in Motorsport both two and four wheels but I think we should settle down before we raise the pitchforks in protest…Heck,

if he cleans up this season, it might draw more eyes on the sport due to the level of achievement, only time will tell. For now though, let’s enjoy the ride, and the history book be rewritten.