Spencer proud of fellow upstart Marquez

Fri Nov 8, 2013 6:16am EST
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By Iain Rogers

VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) - If 20-year-old Spanish rookie Marc Marquez seals his maiden MotoGP crown in Valencia on Sunday, one of those queueing up to congratulate him will be the man he will replace as the youngest ever champion, American Freddie Spencer.

Honda rider Marquez, who has been smashing records since his debut in 125cc at the age of 15, has a 13-point lead over title holder and compatriot Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha going into the last of 18 races and a fourth place finish or better at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste will clinch the title.

Spencer won his maiden world crown at the age of 21 in 1983, also on a Honda, when he pipped Kenny Roberts of Yamaha after finishing second behind his American compatriot in the final race of the year at Imola.

"Many people ask me how do you feel about someone coming along and breaking your records," Spencer said when he met Marquez for the first time in June.

"I think it's great," added the 51-year-old, who won three world titles and amassed 27 victories in all classes during a glittering career.

"I really appreciate when someone comes along and pushes that envelope and has the ability to make the difference in whatever way that might be.

"It's important for grand prix racing and I really mean that. If you do win I'll be the first one to congratulate you."

With his toothy grin and boyish good looks, Marquez is a very different character to the sometimes prickly Lorenzo, who became the first Spaniard with two top-flight world titles when he won his second crown last year.   Continued...

Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez of Spain winks after qualifying in pole position for the Indianapolis Grand Prix in Indianapolis August 17, 2013. REUTERS/Brent Smith