This year’s MotoGP season has been all about one man – Marc Márquez. At just 20 years old, the Repsol Honda sensation stunned the paddock with his sheer speed and consistency during his rookie year, taking six victories and a further ten podiums...
MotoGP – Rookie Rules
This year's MotoGP season has been all about one man – Marc Márquez. At just 20 years old, the Repsol Honda sensation stunned the paddock with his sheer speed and consistency during his rookie year, taking six victories and a further ten podiums on his way to becoming the youngest ever premier class Champion.
It did not all go the way of the youngster though, as for only the sixteenth time in history the blue-riband class was decided in the final race of the season. Pushing Márquez throughout the year was reigning Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who despite scoring two extra victories compared to his young rival, suffered a huge crash in practice for the Dutch TT that saw him break his collarbone. While emergency surgery saw him heroically return to compete in the race less than two days later, a further crash the following week forced him to miss the German Grand Prix, gifting Márquez crucial points.
A mid-season run of four victories gave the young Spaniard a comfortable lead at the top of the standings, with it looking set he would be able to wrap up his first MotoGP title with races to spare at either Phillip Island or Motegi. A freak occurrence at the Australian event however, saw the tyres unable to last the length of the race meaning a compulsory pit stop to change bikes was enforced. By virtue of not pitting during the designated two lap window, Márquez was disqualified allowing Lorenzo to close the gap to 18 points. With a further win at Motegi, the reigning Champion ensured the title race would go down to the final round, where despite his best efforts, a third place from Márquez was enough to secure the title.
In the CRT class, it was once again Aspar Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro who finished top when they secured the title at Phillip Island. It was another fantastic season for the Spaniard as he enjoyed four eighth place finishes, despite facing twelve full prototype machines.
In the lower capacity Moto2 class, a season long battle between Spanish rider Pol Espargaro, brother of CRT Champion Aleix, and Britain's Scott Redding came to an unscheduled end in Australia when Redding suffered a nasty highside, resulting in him fracturing his wrist. Despite returning to action less than a week later, he was involved in another rider's accident on the opening lap, allowing Espargaro to secure an unassailable lead.
Almost the entire MotoGP and Moto2 class use the iconic gold and yellow suspension of Öhlins, making the Swedish equipment the weapon of choice for the world's leading motorcycle racers.
Between the Hedges...
Öhlins also enjoyed a highly successful season in the adrenalin fuelled world of road racing. Fan favourite Guy Martin enjoyed a strong year, taking the Manx Gas Solo Championship for the second time at the Southern 100 event, along with a hat-trick of victories at the Ulster Grand Prix including Supersport, Superbike and the blue-riband event itself.
The world famous Isle of Man TT fortnight was dominated by Michael Dunlop, who took victory in four of the five main races, including wins in both Supersport races on board his Öhlins shod Honda CBR600RR. See our inside story on this unique event HERE.
After an eighteen month layoff following a horrific injury which almost cost him his leg, Ian Hutchinson made a dream racing return at the final road race of the year, the Macau Grand Prix, as he took victory on his Milwaukee Yamaha ahead of circuit specialist Michael Rutter.
As always, Öhlins have enjoyed a strong and highly successful racing season in some of the world's leading domestic two wheel championships, including the prestigious British Superbike and AMA US Superbike Championships.
Just as Márquez was breaking records in Grand Prix, Alex Lowes was repeating them in Britain as he became the youngest ever British Champion following a nail-biting final race of the season, where he went head-to-head with three time Champion Shane Byrne.
Stateside, it was a whitewash for the Öhlins shod Monster Energy Yamaha team, as Josh Herrin and team mate Josh Hayes took twelve victories and ten podiums on their way to first and second place in the Superbike standings, while their counterpart in the Sportbike class, Cameron Beaubier, took victory in all but one race on his way to the title. In the Australian Superbike series Wayne Maxwell took the title for Team Suzuki.
Back in Europe, the IDM Superbike Championship in Germany saw Markus Reiterberger and the Van Zon BMW Remeha secure the title, whilst Gregory Leblanc was Viva Francaisin FSBK with Kawasaki.
Ex WSB star Andy Meklau secured the 2013 Alpe Adria Cup, Italian Superbike Championship (CIV) was won by Eddie La Marra , (Barni Racing Ducati) despite missing the final round through injury.
In the lower capacity classes, Franco Morbidelli was crowned European Superstock 600 Champion, a highly competitive series that runs as a support race for the European rounds of the World Superbike Championship.