Reigning World Champion romps home at rain affected Sachsenring circuit
Starting from pit lane with around ten other riders didn’t even phase Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez today as he marched to his ninth straight win of this year’s MotoGP Championship. With rain falling just before the start of the race, most riders took to the track with wet tires but following the warm-up lap, most of the top riders decided to pit and change back to their dry set-up machines which led to the dash to pit lane exit for start.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl took the lead with the German making the decision to start on dry tires from the grid. The first lap of 30 at the Eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland saw a host of privateer team riders at he front including Paul Bird Motorsport’s Michael Laverty and Danilo Petrucci for the Came IodaRacing Project. However, the lead at he front was short lived with Marquez slicing his way through the field and within the first 5 laps Marquez was right on Bradl’s rear wheel before taking the outright lead on the 6th lap.
Marquez was soon joined by his teammate Dani Pedrosa in second place while Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were also moving up the placements and within the first ten laps they were out on their own with Lorenzo taking the initiative in third and giving chase to Pedrosa. There was bad luck in the first half of the race for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith who crashed out of the race putting an end to a weekend to forget for the British rider.
The second half of the race saw Bradl’s race going from bad to worse with the German rider falling way back through the pack and it would later transpire that his team took a gamble by starting on slick tires but with the wet-weather steel brake discs still on his machine; this badly affected Bradl moving into the middle of the race and he would eventually finish in 16th place. There was also bad luck for Laverty who, despite going well early on, he crashed his machine nearing the end of the race.
The final third of the race saw positions remain uncharged at the front with Marquez securing his ninth race with Pedrosa and Lorenzo taking second and third respectively while Rossi took a lonely fourth place finish. Aleix Espargaro had another good race taking 5th place for the NGM Forward Racing team while his brother Pol took 6th place on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team after winning what was arguably the best battle against Ducati Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso and while Dovizioso took 8th, GO&Fun Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista got the better of Crutchlow in the end leaving the British rider in a 10th place finish.
Speaking his latest win, Marquez explained the strategy he adopted for the tricky race conditions. He said, “Before going out on track I thought it would be a similar race to the Assen, but in the end the surface dried out very quickly. I saw on the grid that Bradl had gone with the slick tire option and I really had my doubts, because the area around the back of the track was still wet. I finally decided to see what Dani and Valentino were going to do, as they are my main rivals in the Championship and if you get it wrong in these races, you can lose a lot of points. That’s why I decided to copy their strategy. The race was nice, especially the first part which was when I enjoyed it the most!”
Pedrosa was very happy with another podium finish and now sits in second place overall in the championship and four points ahead of Rossi in third. He said, “The start of the race today was a bit like Assen. Rainfall before the race meant that half the track was wet, and in the time we took to set up on the grid and do the warm up lap it had been drying out; there was only one wet corner, but it was very wet. We had to change to the bike with slicks and almost all of the riders started from pit lane. We couldn’t fight for victory but we were very close, Marc was very fast today, too. Now we have the test at Brno and will try to find a few tenths somewhere, so that we can go faster and be even stronger at Indy.”
Lorenzo was very happy with his third place finish today saying, “I’m satisfied because finally we got another podium. At the last two races I couldn’t do it for some reason. In the practice sessions I went fast on both tracks. I hoped to race in a dry race but in the last moment it started spitting so we went with wet tyres and after that we went into the pitlane for slicks. When I started the race and touched the front carbon brake it wasn’t warm enough to work, so to not touch the other riders I had to go onto the track. I let them pass again because it’s not allowed to make progress this way.
I was very focused and riding very well. If we can gain one or two tenths on the competition we can try to win. Little by little we are coming closer. The bike improved a little with the electronics, the tyres are now working better with the bike and I am much fitter than last year. It makes me stronger, also mentally. I will be going to Spain to spend the holiday with my family and my friends and then come back to Yamaha for some more racing,” Lorenzo added.
The MotoGP season now enters the summer break period with the riders returning to action at the Red Bull US Grand Prix at Indianapolis from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th August.