When the MotoGP season began, not many would have picked Marc Marquez to win the individual title.
He was a rookie making the transition from Moto2 and replacing one of the sport's greats, Casey Stoner, at Honda. He also had to contend with reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo and perennial contender Dani Pedrosa.
According to British oddsmaker William Hill, Marquez was merely the joint third favorite at 7/2, behind Lorenzo and Pedrosa and tied with motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi.
But Marquez's brash style -- along with shoulder injuries to Lorenzo and Pedrosa -- saw the Spaniard move into contention and it appears nothing can stop the 20-year-old from becoming the first rookie to claim the MotoGP crown in 35 years.
His odds of winning the title now stand at a miniscule 1/9.
"There are no excuses," Lorenzo said. "Marc was faster than us and he was better. I can only congratulate him and look forward to the next race."
Lorenzo was speaking to reporters Sunday, after Marquez captured Spain's Aragon Grand Prix -- but they were words he could have uttered for much of the campaign.
Marquez chased down Yamaha's Lorenzo -- it wasn't the first time this season that happened -- before easing to the finish line.
It ended Lorenzo's two-race winning streak and boosted Marquez's overall advantage to a substantial 39 points with only four races remaining.
"I didn't expect this before the start of the season," Marquez was quoted as saying by Australian news agency AAP this month. "My goal was just to take some podiums and try to fight for some victories in the end of the season.
"At the moment I want to go race by race but for sure we have some possibility (to win the crown).
"We don't have any pressure because we have already done better than what we expected."
Pedrosa probably wasn't all that impressed with Marquez, his teammate, on Sunday.
They touched on lap 6 as Marquez seemed to out-brake himself and Pedrosa crashed seconds later, hurting his hip and groin.
"Marc went in too wide on the corner entry, clipped me from the outside and I went flying when I got on the gas," Pedrosa told the team website. "My mechanics told me later that the traction-control cable had been cut by the contact."
"The team told me I caused his traction-control cable to snap and I'm sorry for that," Marquez told the team website. "It's something very unusual to see."
But seeing Marquez atop the standings has become commonplace.