Marc Márquez is so consistent he’s almost as much of a machine as the Honda he rides. But how does he compare to sporting legends outside his field?
MotoGP Grand Prix of Spain, Sunday 5 May, 12.30pm, BT Sport 2 HD (CH 528)
The stats speak for themselves: Marc Márquez is the best MotoGP rider in the world. With seven Grand Prix titles in total (five in the MotoGP class), and the claim of being one of only four riders to have won world championships in three different categories, it’s easy to see why Márquez is up there with the all-time greats. In fact, despite his age (he’s 26!), it’s only Italian legend Valentino Rossi and retired Australian rider Casey Stoner who could argue that they’ve achieved more. But Márquez still has years of riding ahead of him, and is showing no signs of letting up.
Having been touted as one to watch since he first started riding bikes competitively, Márquez elevated his reputation further by winning the MotoGP title in his debut season in 2013 – becoming the first rider in 30 years to achieve this feat, and the youngest rider of all time to triumph in a debut season, at 20. He picked up four more titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and only missed out in 2015 due to injury.
The native Catalonian is even considered a MotoGP pioneer of sorts – primarily owing to a cornering technique where he leans so far over it seems like a fall is surely imminent. But how does Márquez stack up against other sporting legends outside his field? Take a look at the fierce competition below, then click to cast your vote for the best of the best at the bottom of the page.
Ronnie O’Sullivan (snooker)
Ronnie has been snookering the rest of the competition for years. Having made his first 100 break at the age of ten, “The Rocket” won his first UK championship in 1993. He went on to win his first world championship in 2001 and set a record for maximum breaks in 2014, and another for century breaks the year after. He’s so good, he sometimes even plays left-handed, which unsurprisingly doesn’t always go down so well with his opponents.
Lionel Messi (football)
Messi is, quite simply, a footballing freak… in the nicest sense of the term of course! The 31-year-old is in a league of his own, and his goal tally of more than 400 (despite not even playing as a centre forward) is like something from a bygone era. In 1927/28, for example, striker Dixie Dean banged in 60 in just one season for Everton, and Messi’s end-of-season stats are often not too dissimilar.
Roger Federer (tennis)
He might be 37, but Federer was and still is a tennis titan, with a whopping 20 world titles under his belt. And with around £93.5 million in career prize money in his pocket, he’s the second highest-earning player of all time, behind Novak Djokovic. He has won the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year a record five times, including four times consecutively between 2005 and 2008.
Tiger Woods (golf)
The saying “form is temporary but class is permanent” resonated rather nicely in the case of Tiger Woods. Previously the biggest star of the golfing world, the American lost his way following some off-the-green antics, and many wondered if he’d ever be able to reach golfing’s greatest heights again. It appeared those fears were well founded until this year’s Masters, where he stunned the watching world with a win. Woods has won 15 major championships in total, making him the second most successful golfer of all time.
Lewis Hamilton (Formula One)
When it comes to F1, our very own Hamilton stands head and shoulders above the rest. Undoubtedly the best driver of this generation, he’s also in the conversation when it comes to debating the best of all time. The Stevenage-born star is the most successful British driver of all time, with five championships under his belt. He bases his driving style on that of late Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna – widely considered to be the greatest F1 driver of all time.
So… how does Márquez compare?
The reason we reckon Márquez could top the lot comes down to a few factors among his competition. Ronnie O’Sullivan and Roger Federer have had spells where they’ve had strong rivalries in their respective fields, but generally, their opponents haven’t managed to stand the test of time as long as they have (or lasted as long at the top). For all his achievements, for years Lionel Messi has been plying his trade at Barcelona – one of the best club sides. Tiger Woods’ form dipped massively before his recent revival. Meanwhile, in F1, the debate continues to rage about how much is down to driver skill and how much is down to the mechanics of the car they’re driving.
Click to cast your vote for the best of the best below.
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