Superprestigio IV: Marc Marquez Finally Gets Brad Baker

The American Flat Track racer’s streak was broken as the reigning MotoGP World Champion beats Baker for the first time.

Marc Marquez at Superprestigio IV
Marc Marquez (93) finally beat Brad Baker (6) on dirt.Andrea Wilson

Everyone was waiting for the Superprestigio rematch between five-time World Champion Marc Marquez and 2013 Grand National Champion Brad Baker. Unfortunately for Baker, that battle was short lived as he made an error in tire choice and Marquez ran off into the distance to take a dominant win in the Superprestigio Superfinal at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain.

Although the bar had been raised this year, in what was deemed the most intense competition the all-star race has seen, both riders topped their class finals (Superprestigio for Marquez, and Open for Baker). But Marquez was finally able to beat the American Flat Track racer. It was a victory that Marquez could not compare as the same feeling as winning a World Championship, but more special than just a race win at his day job.

“You know the Superprestigio victory is a different feeling than MotoGP,” Marquez said. “When you win a MotoGP championship, of course the feeling is much more important, but it is a championship, and you can start to feel like I have an advantage, I will win, I can manage the distance. Here it is 16 laps. And then it is like, you know that it is one race and you can win or lose; no more. This makes you much more excited. And yes, this is maybe the most special one because Brad beat me every year that he competed and this is the first time that I beat him. Yeah we have 2-2, but for me we are 2-1, so still he is leading.”

Brad Baker at Superprestigio IV
Baker (6) has been quite happy to grow flat track racing overseas and had played a big part in expediting the learning curve for Spanish riders like friend and 2016 RFME Copa de Flat Track Champion Ferran Cardus (77).Andrea Wilson

It didn’t take long for Baker to realize his mistake in tire choice. In two laps he knew his race was over, and that all he could do was fight to stay on the podium. Because he was struggling, it was a third place finish, MotoAmerica Superbike racer Toni Elias slipping past in an attempt to chase down Marquez. Baker was kicking himself for outsmarting himself and not going with what worked for him last year, which was to use a worn-in tire.

“Basically I got outsmarted this year,” Baker said. “I believe I outsmarted them with my tire choice last year. Marc went with a brand new tire and I actually bought a tire from my next door neighbor in the paddock, one that was a quarter to half of the way worn out, and it worked perfect. Then this year I decided to go with a new one with the (16) laps, and it was a bad decision. It was great for the show and it’s good for the story. It’s game on for next year.”

On the flipside, the second-place finish for Elias felt almost like a victory, as the Spaniard had struggled with setup until just moments before hitting the track at the Palau yesterday for practice.

Toni Elias at Superprestigio IV
It was typical bar-to-bar flat track racing at Superprestigio and Toni Elias (24) was going for the win, just as if it was his day job on a Superbike in MotoAmerica.Andrea Wilson

“We didn’t expect that," Elias said. We knew that the Superprestigio (Final) was possible but not the Superfinal. Thanks to my team because they work really hard throughout the week, especially the last days. We made the right choices at the right time.”

It was also a result that could have easily never happened without the goodwill of Michelin and organizers as the Yoshimura Suzuki rider discovered before the Super Final that his tire was shot and Michelin had closed up the truck.

“I was really close to losing the Super Final because my rear tire was completely finished and I went to push for it; I need to change my tire,” Elias explained. “He waited for me and finally everything was right. The Super Final was perfect. I could pass Brad, someone who rides that well. This is nice to end the year this way, because it’s been a nice year. Thanks to everybody in the U.S.. Thanks to this team, to my family, and all the fans in the stands.”

Superprestigio IV podium
(Left to Right): Elias, Marquez and Baker topped the podium at the Palau Sant Jordi.Andrea Wilson
2016 Superprestigio Superfinal Results
1. Marc Marquez
2. Toni Elias
3. Brad Baker
4. Xavier Simon
5. Gerard Bailo
6. Marcel Schrotter
7. Ferran Cardus
8. Thomas Chareyre

Superprestigio Style Check:

Style Check with Marc Marquez

Style check with three-time MotoGP Champ Marc Márquez during the 2016 Superprestigio Dirt Track practice session.

Posted by American Flat Track on Friday, December 16, 2016