Round Nine – Sachsenring
MotoGP Race Results / Report
Marc Marquez proved who’s boss at Sachsenring over the weekend taking his tenth victory at the track in a row, having claimed an early lead from Turn one and then proceeding to lead for the entire duration, finishing +4.587 ahead of Maverick Vinales.
“My plan was try to lead from the beginning to the end, that was my mentality. For that reason the start wasn’t perfect but I took a lot of risk in the first corner, I braked so late and I was able to be in there and then the first two laps I was just cruising and trying to understand the limit of the track after the rain. Then when I saw the tyres were ready, I was ready and the bike was ready, then I started to attack. I started to do low 1:21s, that was my rhythm in the first ten laps, and apart from that, when I saw Rins was three seconds behind me, then I started to save the tyre and finish the race.”
That makes it ten wins in a row in Germany for the reigning Champion, all from pole, with Maverick Viñales and Cal Crutchlow completing the podium. Marquez’ win for the seventh successive time in the premier class at the Sachsenring also equals Valentino Rossi’s record of premier class wins in a row at one venue, set in Mugello from 2002-2008.
Despite a bad start Marquez kept it pinned into Turn 1, the last of the late brakers able to emerge in the lead as Fabio Quartararo slipped back from second to sixth at the start; Viñales, Jack Miller, Alex Rins and Crutchlow all getting past the Frenchman. The first shot of drama would come from the Frenchman too as Quartararo’s race suddenly ended at Turn 3 on Lap 2, the rookie going to get back past Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci but the front washing away in his first ever premier class crash out of a race.
The battle at the front at that point was more a freight train, with Marquez conducting the pace from Viñales as Crutchlow and Rins demoted Miller down to fifth. The top four started to edge clear of the rest, but edging clear of everyone was King of the Ring Marquez as a 1:21.228 – a new lap record – on Lap 5 saw his lead creep up to just under a second. The man in second was Rins, and he was also stretching his advantage over Viñales and Crutchlow to the same distance, but Marquez was in the groove.
The seven-time Champion showed exactly why the Sachsenring is his playground, not powering away at a rapid rate but instead eking out a tenth here and there, his lead gradually increasing until he suddenly put the hammer down. Lap 10 saw Marquez go 0.4 faster than Rins as the gap rose above the two-second barrier. From then on, there was no stopping the now ten-time Sachsenring winner.
The battle for the second and third steps on the podium was heating up, however. Crutchlow was shadowing Viñales, who in turn was sitting a second back from Rins, with the gap remaining constant between the trio as we passed the mid-stage of the race. And the battle for fifth place was very much on as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci were going head-to-head with fellow GP19 rider Miller, Joan Mir, Valentino Rossi and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro in a close fight for big points.
Nearer the front though, disaster then struck at the top of ‘The Waterfall’ for Rins. 0.9 clear of Viñales and Crutchlow, the Suzuki man suddenly skitted out at Ralf Waldmann corner for his second consecutive DNF. With the man on the chase down and out, it left Marquez with an unassailable 4.9 lead.
The last ten laps were just about controlling the gap for Marquez as he saw a 10th Sachsenring win appear ever closer, but who would finish second? Crutchlow had been attached to Viñales’ back wheel for some time to put the Spaniard under pressure and with two laps to go, the duo were separated by nothing.
But the number 35 then had a scare at Turn 10; a warning sign that saw Crutchlow running wide and subsequently keeping it calmer to give up the chase. Just ahead, Marquez crossed the line to win his fifth race of 2019, the seventh consecutive year he’s won five or more races in a premier class season – a record that sees him surpass MotoGP Legend Giacomo Agostini and nine-time Champion Rossi, both of whom managed to do it for six straight years.
Viñales crossed the line to take his second straight podium, with Crutchlow getting his equal best result of the year in third and his first rostrum since Qatar GP. The Brit’s ride was even more impressive as he battled a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a small fracture to the top of his tibia this weekend following a cycling mishap. Behind the top trio, meanwhile, there were important points in the Championship to be decided just down the road.
Rossi had lost touch on the battle for fourth in the latter stages, and it was Mir vs the three Ducatis. With Marquez out in front, second in the Championship Dovizioso needed to limit the damage as much as possible but Petrucci wasn’t going to let his teammate have it all his own way. The Italians exchanged P4 at the bottom of ‘The Waterfall’ before Dovi went to get back past Petrucci into Turn 1 with three to go and they both ran wide; Miller diving up the inside of both.
Dovizioso was aggressive though and attacked the Australian as the battle between the Ducatis went down to the wire, Petrucci leading them onto the last lap. The Mugello winner would ultimately hold fourth as the chequered flag came out, a terrific performance after his big crash in Q2, with Dovizioso producing another fine fight back to take P5 from P13 on the grid. Miller was forced to settle for a solid sixth.
Mir picked up his third consecutive top ten in seventh, a great ride from the rookie, with Rossi ending his run of three-straight DNFs with a P8 at the Sachsenring. Franco Morbidelli finished ninth in Germany, the first time he’d raced in the premier class at the track after missing out last year, with Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement Stefan Bradl grabbing his second top ten of the season in front of his home fans.
Tito Rabat put in a stunner to take P11 from last on the grid, ahead of a tougher race for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro. Andrea Iannone was 13th and top Aprilia after a crash for teammate Aleix Espargaro, with Takaaki Nakagami riding through the pain barrier to P14. Karel Abraham completed the points.
The summer break is now upon us and Marquez will doubtless be the most relaxed after extending his lead once again. But next up is Brno and it’s a good venues for some key rivals…as well as a few weeks away, giving the likes of Quartararo time to come back swinging. Will the reign continue? The Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky will decide…
Alex Marquez took another authoritative win in the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, able to make his way through to the front and pull the pin to stamp some authority back on the standings after getting crashed out of the lead at Assen.
“I still can’t believe it to be honest, it was a really good race. I didn’t expect to make a gap, I expected to be with the front guys but yesterday we didn’t have the best rhythm. Today Warm Up was wet so we couldn’t try anything either, so I said ok we’ll go into the race and just try to be focused and be there. I knew yesterday during Q2 we had good pace after the fast lap, and today I was trying to manage that, the rear tyre and the front, because here it was a bit on the limit, especially in the last ten laps. But before then I already had a gap I was trying to manage it. It’s really good, I’m really happy and it really gave me the confidence I needed at this track because in the past I used to hate it! But now I’ve started to love it a little bit. So that’s good and I go into the break with a good feeling.”
The number 73 now leads Tom Lüthi by eight points into the summer break, and his pace will give many a rival something to think about before Brno. Brad Binder took an impressive P2 from 17th on the grid, with home hero Marcel Schrötter completing the podium in front of a partisan crowd.
Luca Marini took the holeshot from second on the grid, with polesitter Marquez getting a sluggish launch off the line before then getting pushed wide by American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona at the first corner, ending up down in fifth. At the front Marini’s run didn’t last long as Marcel Schrötter barged through into the final corner, but then the German made a mistake through Ralf Waldmann Curve and that allowed a charging Lecuona to hit the front.
Marquez, though, was back on it. Battling his way back through to second place before then asserting his revenge on Lecuona by squeezing past into the first corner, the Spaniard hit the front but later Lecuona was able to squeeze his way back into the lead after a mistake from Marquez at Turn 3. The number 73 struck back quickly, however, and the race was on to stop him.
Behind the leading duo, Brad Binder was on a real charge. The South African had sliced through from P17 to join the fight for the podium, getting to the head of the battle as the leading duo’s scrap then allowed him to move further into contention. A move on Lecuona into Turn 1 then put him into second, but moments later he ran wide at Turn 3 and Lecuona pounced to retake the place.
The battle between those two raged as Marquez managed to edge half a second clear, then a second, and from there he never looked back. Crossing the line with an advantage of 1.2 seconds, it’s his fourth win of the season and takes him eight points clear at the top of the Championship.
Behind him, Schrötter had seen Marquez escape and was back on the duo chasing him, soon through to second place as Binder seemingly started to struggle following his monster effort to fight through from the sixth row of the grid. But the South African managed to keep it together to take second as Schrötter and Lecuona fought it out for the podium just behind.
Then, heartbreak struck for the Spaniard. On the final lap Lecuona suddenly slid out and Schrötter was unthreatened in third, taking another podium and this on home turf after a tougher run of recent races.
Fabio Di Giannantonio took a stunning fourth place from fourth on the grid and his best rookie finish, just ahead of former Championship leader Tom Lüthi. The Swiss rider was moving through the field well until a harsh move on Vierge saw the Spaniard crash out and the number 12 was handed a Long Lap Penalty.
Augusto Fernandez just beat teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri to sixth by a couple of tenths, with Jorge Navarro in P8. Jorge Martin took some valuable points after crashing out in Assen, with Marini ultimately completing the top ten after fighting off Sam Lowes, Tetsuta Nagashima and his teammate Remy Gardner in a tight battle.
Remy Gardner made the best of having no rear grip at the GermanGP at Sachsenring, bringing his ONEXOX TKKR SAG Racing Kalex home in thirteenth position after twenty-eight hard fought laps that saw him narrowly miss out on what would have been his third top ten finish of the year.
“It was a very difficult weekend. It seemed like it was going better on Friday and Saturday but then in the race we struggled a lot with rear grip, and we didn’t understand how bad the issues were until we got to the race. I couldn’t find the groove when I was in a group so we did the best we could and, in the end, I finished thirteenth. It’s good to get some points on the board after the couple of zero scores but we will back in Brno ready to fight at the front which is where I believe we should be every race. Thanks to everyone who continues to support me, to my team and all my sponsors.”
That’s all she wrote in Germany, with Alex Marquez back on top after bouncing back in style…and at a track that’s never been a favourite. Next up? Top hunting grounds in Brno, with the Imperial March already playing for many…
Lorenzo Dalla Porta has been the bridesmaid a number of times this season in Moto3, but in the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland the Italian finally took to the top step and became the eighth different winner in nine races, just 0.072 ahead of teammate Marcos Ramirez over the line.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta
“It’s fantastic to take a victory after so many podiums where I wanted to win so many times. Today was our day and we have to enjoy it! It’s fantastic for the team because we took first and second. I did a good race though I didn’t have the best race pace, but when the other riders where in front of me I could ride fast and for that reason I tried to put myself first, second, third or maximum fourth. And I saw that I had to start the last lap second to win the race…I did it and it’s fantastic!”
Aron Canet put in a stunning ride through the field from P22 on the grid to take third, losing the Championship lead but ending the day only two points down on Dalla Porta.
It was Romano Fenati who took the holeshot from the second row of the grid, with Ramirez and Kaito Toba also getting past polesitter Ayumu Sasaki early on. A crash between Alonso Lopez and Kömmerling Gresini Moto3’s Gabriel Rodrigo then split the group slightly, and Fenati was left leading a gaggle of six riders around the Sachsenring.
John McPhee and Can Öncü soon managed to bridge the gap to make it a group of nine battling at the front, however, and the two Leopard machines, McPhee, Jakub Kornfeil and Fenati were battling it out. But on Lap 11, Ramirez was able to get into the lead and managed to pull out a small gap, holding onto it for a numbers of laps before a couple of mistakes saw the chasers reel him in; Dalla Porta and McPhee slicing past.
By that point Canet had made good progress to get himself inside the points, but it looked unlikely that the Spaniard would be able to challenge for the podium with the top seven then over a second clear of Tatsuki Suzuki in P8. But the Japanese rider just ahead of Canet suddenly went half a second quicker than the leaders and seven became nine heading into the final five laps, with the Spaniard soon starting to pick his way through to the front.
Soon up into fourth, once more through Turn 1 he was up to second. The fight between the top men at the top of the standings was well and truly on, but it was Ramirez who was back in the lead on the penultimate lap, again pulling out a slight gap. Heading around Turn 7 though, the Honda rider got a bit out of shape that gave Canet and Dalla Porta the chance to pounce down ‘The Waterfall’, with the Spaniard in the lead heading onto the final lap.
As the freight train chugged down the hill last time around, Dalla Porta went for his attack and pulled out to dive into the lead, with Ramirez following him through – pushing Canet down to P3. With his teammate in the lead, would Ramirez make a move into the last corner? He seemed to think about it, but ultimately it all came down the the drag to the line,and Dalla Porta was just able to stay ahead for his first win of the year. That makes him the new Championship leader heading into the summer break, with Ramirez doing a top job for the team to keep Canet at bay and take second. The number 44, meanwhile, stays within two points of the top…
Fenati picked up his best result of the season in fourth having battled for the win throughout, with Raul Fernandez taking P5 – the reigning Moto3 Junior World Champion collecting his best Grand Prix finish. McPhee settled for sixth and the Scotsman now sits P6 in the Championship, with Ai Ogura taking home another top finish in P7 after two consecutive sixth places in Barcelona and Assen. Ogura heads a trio of Japanese riders inside the top ten, with Suzuki in P8 after clawing back the gap to the leaders in the latter stages and Sasaki taking ninth from pole. Kornfeil, a threat throughout, completed the top ten.
Sergio Garcia took P11 and some solid points, with Niccolo Antonelli gaining a few places from his qualifying position in P12, although he’s now 36 points off Canet. Filip Salac made good on his promise to take points, ahead of Can Öncü and a surprisingly difficult weekend for Tony Arbolino and Jaume Masia.
As well as Rodrigo and Lopez’ early incident, Albert Arenas, Toba, Celestino Vietti, teammate Dennis Foggia, Darryn Binder and teammate Tom Booth-Amos all crashed.
After finally winning this season, Dalla Porta makes it eight winners in nine races and the Italian takes a two-point Championship lead into the summer break. Can Canet fight back at Brno?
Polesitter Niki Tuuli became the first-ever winner of an FIM Enel MotoE World Cup race after leading a group of four over the line before the Red Flags came out due to a Lorenzo Savadori crash puncturing the air fence at Turn 7. Bradley Smith and Mike Di Meglio completed the podium at the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
The crash into the air fence unfortunately brought out the red flags, putting an early end to a stunning, historic MotoE race – rider okay
The race was declared wet after rain fell overnight at the Sachsenring, which meant the MotoE battle would be reduced to seven laps. As the lights went out for the very first time in the ‘World Cup’, Tuuli didn’t get the holeshot from pole – it was second on the grid Hector Garzo who got himself to the front as Smith made an electrifying start from P7 to get himself into second, before the Brit took the lead at Turn 3.
A lead group of seven quickly formed as the Energica Ego Corsa riders ripped around the Sachsenring, with the battle for the lead intensifying every lap. Tuuli, after dropping to fourth in the early stages, started to pick the riders off one-by-one before taking the lead – after a number of failed attempts – at Turn 1 on Lap 4. At this stage, the top four of Tuuli, Smith, Di Meglio and Garzo had a one-second gap to fifth place Matteo Ferrari and the fight for MotoE victory number one was on.
However, Savadori’s fast crash at Turn 7 led to his machine puncturing the air fence which brought out the Red Flags on Lap 6. This meant the order at the end of Lap 5 would be the final results, with Tuuli leading Smith and Di Meglio over the line, Garzo completed the top four covered by just 0.9 seconds.
Ferrari finished in a lonely fifth to begin his season well, with Alex de Angelis and Xavier Simeon having a good battle for P6 and P7. The two former MotoGP riders made contact at Turn 3 as Simeon went for a pass up the inside of de Angelis, the latter would remain in front of the Belgian as the Red Flags put a premature end to proceedings.
Eric Granado – who got pushed out wide at Turn 1 on Lap 1 – had to fight back to claim P8 at the Sachsenring, the Brazilian beat the vast experience of Sete Gibernau and Nico Terol in ninth and tenth respectively.
A phenomenal opening to the season ends in victory for Tuuli. The Championship looks like it will be a fierce one as the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup riders now look forward to Round 2 at the Red Bull Ring on the 9th, 10th, 11th August.
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