PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Red Bull Indianapolis GP will air LIVE on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, August 18 in a four-hour programming block that starts at 11:00am ET.
Following nine races — the first half of the 2013 MotoGP schedule — Repsol Honda’s 20-year-old rookie Marc Marquez, has won three races leads his seasoned teammate, Dani Pedrosa, by 16 points. He also holds a 26-point lead — one more than offered by a race win — over reigning defending champion Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Yamaha.
The last time a rookie made a serious run for the premier class championship was in 1998 when Italian Max Biaggi, a four-times 250 champion, who won in his 500cc debut in Japan, was leading the points table with only three races to go with a three-point lead over eventual champion Mick Doohan and a five-point lead over Alex Crivillé.
Going into the Grand Prix of Catalunya that year, Biaggi was on course to match Kenny Roberts’ 1978 feat and become only the second rookie ever to win the premier class title in his first season.