1. Marc Marquez Wins MotoGP Championship as a Rookie

MOTORSPORT - MotoGP, GP of Valencia

The word “phenom” gets tossed around a lot, but every now and then a young talent pops up and truly lives up to the hype. What other word better describes 20-year-old Marc Marquez who exceeded all expectations this year in becoming the youngest rider to ever win the MotoGP World Championship?

Marquez’s stock had been rising in the lower classes for several years now, with championships in the 125cc Grand Prix and Moto2 championships. Racing organizers were so sure Marquez was the next big thing, they changed the regulations to allow the rookie to enter the premier class immediately with the Repsol Honda factory team.

The young Spaniard immediately proved he was the real thing, scoring a podium his first time out at Qatar. Win number one came just a round later at the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Marquez would continue to score five more victories and a total of 16 podiums in 18 rounds to become the first rookie to win the World Championship since Kenny Roberts won the 500cc Grand Prix title in 1978. At 20 years and 266 days old, Marquez became the youngest rider to ever win the premier class and just the fourth to win World Championships in three different classes.

The scary thing for the rest of the MotoGP grid is Marquez has several more years of racing ahead of him. A phenom indeed.