Marc Marquez had to resist his natural instinct as fabulously fast risk-taker to secure his historic MotoGP World Championship in Valencia.
Marquez says that temptation almost got the better of him as he momentarily thought to engage title rival Jorge Lorenzo in a battle for victory in the championship deciding race.
But at a crucial point of the 30-lap race, Marquez elected to settle for third place and secure his place in the record books.
Lorenzo’s stunning late season charge saw him win the final three races including a decisive win in Valencia, which featured his bumpy and breathtaking contest with Dani Pedrosa.
Lorenzo may have won eight races to Marquez’s six for the season, but the rookie Spaniard became, at 20 years and 266 days, the youngest ever winner of the MotoGP championship.
But on Lap 10 of this finale, Marquez had thoughts of trying make it seven all and claim the title in burst of glory with a race win.
When Lorenzo edged Pedrosa wide at turn, the culmination of tense 10-lap battle, in a braking duel as the pair rubbed shoulders for the lead, it was Marquez who grabbed the chance to inherit the lead.
“I was fighting with myself to not join the battle but in the corner when Jorge and Dani went wide, I went into first.”
“But immediately I heard the engine of Jorge and I said ok, he can go first. I saw he was fighting so hard today and it was not my fight.”
One lap later, Lorenzo was back in front and immediately put the hammer down, putting aside his cat-and-mouse tactics in attempt to upset the rhythm at the front.
Such was Lorenzo’s pace, there was no certainty that Marquez could have beaten him but with the title in sight, Marquez stepped back from the brink.
It was the only day this season, across 18 races, that Marquez has not been on or even over the limit.
The style comes naturally to the precociously talented Spaniard.
“I was always on the limit, especially in the first part of the season,” Marquez said.
“I was riding every lap on the limit to try and stay with them (Jorge and Dani) and for that I had many crashes. In the second part of the season, I knew I was riding on the limit but I was safer in the race.
“I was on the limit in practice and in the race I tried to control the situation.”
Despite his total of 15 crashes for the season, crucially only one in a race at the Italian GP, Marquez scored nine pole positions and 16 podiums.
“Jorge won two more races than me but for this first season I am also at the top in the crash rankings,” Marquez said.
“But I learnt a lot and hopefully next season I can improve. I think the worst moment was Mugello.
“That weekend and also in the Catalunya race, even though I was on the podium there, those two races I saw that MotoGP is difficult.
“I was struggling more because until those tracks I was able to be with Jorge and Dani – not easy, but easier than Mugello and Montmelo.
“But now we need to enjoy this moment because you never know if it will happen again. I hope to feel this moment again of winning a championship but now we need to enjoy it.”
The previous rookie to win the MotoGP title was legendary Kenny Roberts who continued his winning streak with three consecutive championships.