Can Marquez make it nine from nine as this year’s championship reaches the halfway point?
The 2014 MotoGP championship reaches its halfway point this weekend with the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland ready to get underway at the famous Sachsenring circuit and the question on everyone’s lips is: Can anyone put it up to Marc Marquez and stop the 21-year-old from taking a record breaking nine consecutive victories in the premier class?
Last time out at Assen, Marquez took his eight win in a mature fashion way beyond his years with neither multiple bike changes or ultra-tricky track conditions able to faze the championship leader. With the German circuit and its location also known for unpredictable weather conditions, Marquez has had the best preparations possible coming off the back of his latest victory.
With a record of four wins in the past four years at the German track (125cc in 2010, Moto2 2011 and ’12, his opponents are going to need to dig deep to find the confidence to put it up to the reigning MotoGP champion. Speaking ahead of the race weekend Marquez said, “Last year I had a good race but we must remember that neither Dani or Jorge were able to race so this year I look forward to racing them, especially as Dani is so strong at this track! It seems the Honda is well suited to this circuit so we will look to make the most of this advantage.”
His Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa had been the man to beat at the Sachsenring up until last year when he didn’t start the race due to injury, before this though Pedrosa took top honors in 2012, ’11 and ’10 and the Spaniard has a total of six wins at the circuit. “I always enjoy racing at Sachsenring and finding the right set up is critical - especially as you spend a lot of time on the left, but the fastest corner is to the right, so tire performance will be key. I’m looking forward to getting there to make up for missing last year!” Pedrosa said.
Seven-times MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi has won in the premier class on four occasions races at the Sachsenring and the Movistar Yamaha rider has a record of ten podium finishes during his career here. Rossi also goes to Germany in second position in the standings (equal to that of Pedrosa) and with his contract renewal finalized with Yamaha; he was very upbeat when speaking ahead of this weekend’s action.
“I am very happy to go to Sachsenring after the contract renewal with Yamaha for another 2 years,” said Rossi who added, “At Assen we did a good race but at the Sachsenring we'll try to do better. I like the track; it’s very difficult, very tricky and very small. In the last few years it was not so bad, especially with the Yamaha. It’s strange and something different, but it’s always good to ride MotoGP there. In Germany we can also have issues with the weather. It is always difficult, so we hope for good weather so we can make a good result.”
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo is having a season to forget with the two times MotoGP champion 119 points off leader Marquez. He said, “Sachsenring is not one of my favorite circuits, especially after last year when I crashed again and I had a problem with the plate fixing my collarbone. After that crash I had to suffer another surgery and that issue changed it all. Despite this season where I don’t feel so lucky for so many different things, I’m looking forward to racing there and trying to revert the situation. The bike is working well and I can feel the support of all the team. I’m pretty optimistic as usual and I will never give up!”
Meanwhile, home hero Stefan Bradl will be hoping for a solid finish in front of his fans after taking fourth place here last year. Speaking at the official pre-race press conference the LCR Honda rider said, “It is always very nice to come to the Sachsenring as it is a special place for me. The fans here are so close to the track and you can feel their emotion, feel them waiting for us. Assen was a disaster for us, so we hope we can fix it here at my home GP.”