It only came as a surprise to some – to the less attentive, we might say. In fact, Marco Bezzecchi’s 2023 is just the latest step in an organic journey made up of confidence in his abilities, consistency and growth. He’s a sound character, one of the good guys, and he showed it from the start. That start actually came just a few seasons ago, because Marco, born in 1998 so just 25 years old, made his true debut in 2017, after sporadic and extraordinary – in the strict sense of the word – appearances in 2015 and ’16.
Not all professional riders are the same. Not everyone follows the same path. There are the chosen ones – those who turn up and win immediately – those who arrive one yard at a time, and also those who get there even after everyone has stopped expecting it. Marco is a normal professional rider, who we might place in the second category. That is to say, normal among uncommon people – because we mere mortals, so to speak, can’t even imagine what must go through the heads, hearts and hands of those who make it their business to rise up from the sea of normality every Sunday, be it with a win or with any other result.
Getting to race in MotoGP™, the premier series of motorcycle racing, is totally out of the ordinary in itself. And ‘the Bez’, as many call him, not only got there, but forced his way to a leading position, among the very first. 2023 was the year that the young lad from Rimini established himself among the giants of motorcycle racing, with four wins and many other podium finishes. The third place championship finish is just the icing on a cake made of perseverance and hard work, but the good stuff is just beginning – Marco’s career is blossoming right now.
He came 23rd in Moto3 in 2017, but with a podium finish already to his credit toward the end of the season. There was a big jump in the 2018 championship when he came third, and the first wins arrived – three, bolstered by no fewer than six other podium finishes. In 2019 there might have been a chance to go for the gold in the lower class, but the lure of Moto2 was too strong.
A further complicated year in the intermediate class was, however, followed by a fantastic 2020, with two wins and more podium finishes demonstrating increasingly apparent and present maturity. He remained in Moto2 in 2021 and finished on the final podium once more, third like in 2018. Again, staying to reap the rewards of experience might have led to a title, but Marco was in a hurry to grow and wanted to contend with the top riders.
It was time for MotoGP™ in 2022, the toughest of challenges. An up-and-down start led to the first podium finish in the Netherland, midway through the championship, with the finale a crescendo and the arrival of the rookie of the year title. Everyone expected 2023 to start where Marco left off, and that’s exactly what happened. A podium finish came as early as the first long race, in the second the first career win in the premier class, in Argentina. More were to follow in France, the Assen Sprint and the Indian GP too, all garnished with more outstanding finishes, poles and fastest laps.
Marco came to Valencia a bit worse for wear, with the last few races marked by heroic suffering after a training injury that affected the season finale, followed by a forced return to Australia. These are important points, of course. If he’d taken it easy we probably wouldn’t be here celebrating, but he wouldn’t be called Marco Bezzecchi either.
Now for some well-deserved rest, but only the minimum required to regain peak fitness. And then, onward, because 2024 is already here, and warriors like Marco never rest on their laurels.