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Inspired by my own version of the Slammy Awards last week, I have decided to hand-out awards throughout the different sports covered here on my blog.
Today I will be covering the 2014 Moto GP championship, which was dominated and won by the young sensation that is Marc Marquez.
Here are my awards and winners:
Rider of the Year – Marc Marquez
There could only really be one winner of this award when you look back over the 2014 Moto GP season. The now two-time World Champion, Marquez, dominated the series from the very first race in Qatar. The Spaniard went on to win the next nine races, a new record in Moto GP, to put the title firmly in his grasp. Marquez would go on to win a further three races in the second half off the season as he became the youngest rider ever to become a two-time champion. Such was his dominance, the first part of the season did become a tad boring but then again we were witnessing pure brilliance on two-wheels. It didn’t even matter if Marquez was third, fourth or even fifth after the first 10 or so laps… you just knew that he would close the gap to the leaders before riding off into the distance. This kid is the real deal and will no doubt win multiple titles and break all of the records that have previously been set.
Best of the Rest Award – Valentino Rossi
Seeing as the Rider of the Year Award was only ever going to go to Marquez, I decided that there needed to be a ‘runners-up’ award. Such was Marquez’s lead at the top of the championship, the rest of the field basically had their own separate class to compete in as they aimed to be best of the rest. The winner of this award is actually the person that finished second overall in the standings: Valentino Rossi. 2014 was the year that Rossi finally regained some of his magic after three years in the darkness. It took a while but the hangover of his two years with Ducati finally look to be over. Rossi managed to win two races in 2014, along with six second-place finishes and five third-place finishes. With only one DNF in the entire season, Rossi was really the only man to take the fight to Marquez. There were signs off the old Rossi as he battled wheel-to-wheel with Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, with the Italian managing to get the better of them on some occasions. Rossi is refreshed and back to his best……. The Spanish riders best take notice in 2015!
Rookie of the Year – Scott Redding
This was a tough decision to make but ultimately the Brit within me decided that Redding deserved to take this award instead of Pol Espargaro. Redding was extremely impressive in his first-ever Moto GP season and was putting in performances that should not be possible on the bike that he was on. Redding had seven top-10 finishes in 2014, with his highest place finish being seventh, and actually finished above a Factory Ducati riding Cal Crutchlow in the final standings. Redding only finished one place and eight points behind his Gresini Honda teammate, Alvaro Bautista, despite the Spaniard being on the full factory spec bike. Everybody expected Redding to struggle due to his height but he definitely proved all of the doubters wrong in 2014.
Surprise package of the Year – Andrea Dovizioso
I have said this many times before but Andrea Dovizioso is one of the best riders out there on the Moto GP grid. No matter which team he is at, Dovizioso always delivers the right results. I still believe to this day that Repsol Honda should have kept him rather than Dani Pedrosa. Dovi managed to get nine top-five finishes in 2014, including two podiums, on a Ducati that once again seemed to be an absolute handful. The Italian also managed five front-row starts including a pole position at Motegi. Where most other riders have come and failed at Ducati, Dovizioso continues to overachieve and get the very best from his machinery. The 28-year-old kept the likes of Lorenzo and Pedrosa on their toes all season long and was ready to pounce if they were even slightly off the pace, both on a Saturday and during the race itself. If Ducati were able to put a decent package together then who knows what the Italian could achieve in the years to come.
Do you agree with my choices? Let me know your thoughts in the comments sections below!