Editor's Note: This continues a series counting down the top 15 stories in MotoGP in 2012, as determined by the Soup staff.
The last two times a Spaniard without MotoGP experience won the intermediate-class championship before 2012, those riders vaulted straight into factory teams as premier-class rookies the next season - Dani Pedrosa with Repsol Honda in 2006 and Jorge Lorenzo with Yamaha Factory Racing in 2008.
Marc Marquez appeared to be the next golden child from Spain, entering the 2012 season as the prohibitive favorite for the Moto2 championship after falling just short to Stefan Bradl in 2011 after missing the last two races of the season due to injury.
Nearly everyone associated with the talented Marquez figured he was a lock for promotion to a factory ride at Repsol Honda in 2013 once Casey Stoner shocked the motorsports world in mid-May by announcing his retirement, effective at the end of the season.
But there was one problem: A rule created by Dorna prohibited rookies from riding with MotoGP factory teams, starting in the 2010 season. So "the rookie rule" prevented the Spanish MotoGP overlords from promoting their exalted homeboy into a Repsol Honda ride in 2013.
In late May, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta insisted he would not bend on relaxing the rookie rule for Marquez. Ezpeleta cited the example of Suzuki, which begged for an exemption to welcome rookie Alvaro Bautista into its factory team in 2010, with the threat of leaving the championship if Dorna didn't grant its wish. Dorna yielded. Suzuki left after 2011, anyways.
Various workarounds were rumored for Marquez. The leading possibility was placing him in a Honda satellite team on works machinery, similar to Marco Simoncelli's setup with Gresini in 2011. But that proposal created numerous complications due to Marquez's longtime sponsorship by Repsol, as existing Honda satellite teams would need to scrap long-term lubricant deals to accommodate Marquez for one season and then be left with nothing.
So Dorna found another solution. It simply reversed course and erased the rule, paving the streets to MotoGP with gold for Marquez.
Dorna and IRTA claimed the rookie rule was nuked because there were fewer satellite seats available in 2013 than in 2010. That's true. But Dorna also spawned that situation by creating the production-based Claiming Rules Team caste for MotoGP, giving satellite teams a cheaper alternative to race in the premier class.
That irony wasn't lost on American riders Ben Spies and Colin Edwards II, who both ripped the about-face by Dorna on Twitter. Spies was the biggest victim of the "rookie rule" in 2010. He was forced into a season with the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team instead of jumping straight into the Yamaha Factory Racing team after winning the World Superbike title for Yamaha in 2009.