The statistics and history show Marc Marquez enjoyed a pretty damn good year in 2013. MotoGP World Champion, the youngest in history. Six race victories, the most ever by a rookie in the premier class. The first rookie World Champion since 1978.
But Marquez may have received the ultimate affirmation of his incredible season when Kenny Roberts - the only other rookie champ in the premier class - gave the Spaniard his blessing and approval.
"From what I've seen of him this season, he is a pretty amazing guy," Roberts said of Marquez. "Ability-wise, I don't think there is any question he can dominate the sport now.
"In terms of ability, I just don't see anything holding him back. He's over-exuberant about it, and I can't see anything that's going to upset him and stop him dominating the sport. He is very enthusiastic and he loves what he is doing, and that is going to be a hard combination to beat. He is doing it because it is fun. Until somebody puts him into a position where it isn't fun, you are not going to stop him."
Marquez earned raves from fans, media and Repsol Honda personnel this season for his humility and easygoing nature, always evident through his impish grin. Stories of Marquez signing autographs for every fan in line while MotoGP rivals whizzed past on their scooters also became common.
It was different with Roberts. He was brash, confident dirt-tracker from Modesto who took sh*t from no one, especially those damn Euros. Or was it that different?
"When I got asked if I could be World Champion in 1978, I said, 'Of course I can be,'" Roberts told media members.
"I didn't see any reason why I couldn't be, but when you have that kind of talent, you can downplay it all you want but you know inside what you can do, and it must have been the same for Marc. ... And if I got beat, I always analyzed why, and I think he does that, too. I was always working out what I could do to be faster and better."
Marquez appreciated the stamp of approval from King Kenny.
"I have often spoken in this season with Freddie Spencer and Kenny Roberts, and it's great, between two living legends with you," Marquez said. "They both said that I was a very good rider. It is a great motivator and also overwhelming when two legends as Spencer and Roberts say such a thing."