Marquez is crowned youngest world champion

Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:46am EST
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VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish rookie Marc Marquez held his nerve became the youngest MotoGP world champion at the age of 20 when he finished third in the final race of the season in Valencia on Sunday.

The Honda rider, who started from his ninth pole position of the year, played it safe by avoiding a thrilling tussle between defending champion Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who went on to finish the race first and second.

Marquez secured the title with 334 championship points, four ahead of twice former winner and Yamaha rider Lorenzo, and 34 in front of Pedrosa.

He passed Freddie Spencer's 30-year-old record from when the American won his maiden crown at the age of 21, also on a Honda, pipping compatriot Kenny Roberts in the final race of the year at Imola in 1983.

"Congratulations Marc to you and the team! I couldn't be happier for you! Enjoy this moment!," the 51-year-old Spencer said on his Twitter feed.

The Catalan-born Marquez also became only the fourth rider in the 65-year history of Grand Prix racing to win world titles in three different categories, along with Mike Hailwood, Phil Read and Valentino Rossi.

"It was the longest race of the year for me," Marquez told Spanish broadcaster Telecinco with a grin from ear to ear.

"I was very nervous at the start. I know I had said I wasn't, but I was. Jorge started very well and I wasn't sure quite what to do.

"The first 10 laps were the worst with Jorge and Dani in front and the others right behind, but I settled into it after that.   Continued...

Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez of Spain races to win the pole position during the qualifying session ahead of the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste, near Valencia, November 9, 2013. REUTERS/Heino Kalis