Round 9 German MotoGP- Sachsenring
With the Sachsenring being the shortest track on the calendar and the competitiveness off the riders it is a bit of a case of blink and you’ll miss a lap. The race is also one to watch if you enjoy the track as there is talk that the track may no longer be used for the MotoGP in the future, Issues such as safety concerns and lack of communication between the owners as possible reasons.
With practice sessions complete it was down to qualifying and it was Marc Marquez who claimed pole for the GermanGP with Danilo Petrucci and Jorge Lorenzo joining him on the front row. The race will also see a familiar face as Stefan Bradl hits the track to replace the injured Franco Morbidelli. We will see Bradl here at his home race this weekend and again at Brno for the next.
When racing got under way Lorenzo powered the Ducati off the line to take holeshot ahead of Danilo Petrucci with Marc Marquez initially making a great start but being forced out wide to sit in third. Disappointingly Alex Rins and Pol Espargaro crashed heading through turn 2. It has been an unfortunate weekend for the Espargaro brothers with Pol’s brother Aleix involved in a massive crash during the morning warmup. The incident saw him hurtle toward an air fence, breaking it and damaging his thoracic area. He did not look good immediately following and after receiving medical attention has been declared unfit to race.
In the opening few laps there was little movement up front with only Cal Crutchlow passing Vinales to ride in fifth by lap three. But by lap five Dovi passed Vinales to ride in sixth while Marquez makes his move on Danilo firing up the inside on turn one making it stick. And now on to hunting Lorenzo at the front. Valentino Rossi who made a great start from sixth on the grid up to fourth was now having a good look at Petrucci and I would have no doubts he would be planning his move to steal third. Meanwhile Alvaro Bautista passed Dani Pedrosa for eighth and Takaaki Nakagama crashed in turn 13.
With gap to the front out over half a second Marquez was trying to close in after delivering the fastest lap with Danilo Petrucci clearly not wanting out of the action as he set the fastest time in the following lap.
As the laps continued the gap was lessening and was down to 0.399, it looked like only a matter of time before Marquez struck. Rossi was also still looking for that podium spot as he tried a few times to pass Petrucci having success at turn 1 heading in to the ninth lap.
Bautista who had earlier put in a fast lap had taken Vinales and was now in seventh behind Andrea Dovizioso. Unfortunately for Cal Crutchlow he crashed in in turn 12 on lap 10 as Bautista set yet another fastest lap.
Two laps later Marquez was now right on Lorenzo with only a second between them and it looked like the action would start to heat up. Lorenzo almost gifted the lead to Marquez as he overshot heading through turn one of the 13th lap but he was able to pull it back in and close the door to Marquez. However, in the final corner of the lap Marquez was able to pass and led going across the line to lead lap 14.
From here Marquez seemed to move away from Lorenzo while Rossi closed in on him and with 15 laps to go Rossi got through on Lorenzo to ride in second after Lorenzo ran wide in turn 10. Meanwhile Marquez had increased his gap to over a second but Rossi quickly began to shorten it. Lorenzo however, was not about to give up and he attempted a very close manoeuvre on Rossi through turn 1 on the eighteenth lap.
Dovi who had been relatively quiet throughout the race had slowly but surely moved his way up the field and with 13 laps left he was now positioned in 5th and looking to pass Petrucci.
Lorenzo tried again to overtake Rossi but with Rossi setting the fastest lap of the race in lap 20 it wasn’t to be.
Despite Dovi’s efforts Bautista was still on the charge and pushed Dovi back to sixth and then a lap later Vinales passed him pushing Dovi back to seventh
As we neared the end of the race the gap to the lead was out to 2.4 secs from Marquez to Rossi. Lorenzo went wide again almost taking out the front of Petrucci as he pulled back into the racing line and it seemed Lorenzo’s tyre choice of the soft front was a mistake as he was passed by both Petrucci, Vinales and Bautista in the final laps of the race.
With two laps to go Vinales put the hammer down and a few corners after passing Lorenzo he passed Petrucci and was able to hold the spot across the line to take the final spot on the podium.
As the chequered flag was waved a clearly elated Marc Marquez crossed the line to win the German GP with Rossi taking a brilliant second. Marquez on his victory lap delighted fans by jumping into the grandstands to celebrate with the fans and to later set off some fireworks.
With the podium decided it was Danilo Petrucci who crossed in fourth perhaps feeling a little ripped off after riding such a great race. Clearly the man on a mission for the day, Alvaro Bautista, finished in fifth. After the race, he was beaming and who could blame him.
Lorenzo after his initial race lead finished in sixth ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Dani Pedrosa finished in eighth with Johann Zarco and Bradley Smith completing the top ten.
The German GP marks the halfway point of the racing calendar and at the conclusion of the race the riders and teams head off for three weeks for their summer break. They will be back in action for round 10 at Brno in the Czech Republic on August 5th.
1st Marc Marquez:
“Today was an incredible victory. You can say ‘oh another victory at Sachsenring’ but it’s not another victory; every year I have more pressure, every year it’s more difficult – especially this year, we had the whole weekend in dry conditions, everybody can prepare for race so well. It was very, very tough. If you look at the lap times, the first 20 laps we were just there in the same tenth. So, it was crucial to be on the same line every lap and we did a really good job.”
2nd Valentino Rossi:
“I was very frustrated because I didn’t feel well with the bike, but we tried something a little different and in MotoGP it’s like this, you are within one second and you’re 17th. Folger last year did an incredible race, at the level of Marc, he stayed there and he fought. So, I studied all his race and all his lines, the way he rides and which way he set up the bike and I think it was a good help, so I have to give him the trophy. I’m so happy because this is the best result of the season but especially it was the best race for me, I never made any mistakes for the 30 laps and I did the maximum, I’m so happy for me and all the team. I know that the start was crucial and I did a great one, I was ‘BAM!’ on the lights and in the first laps I tried to push because I was good,”
3rd Maverick Vinales
“It was tough. I feel happy because we worked well during the weekend. I think we did a good job. With the team, we worked well for the last ten laps of the race; that was the most important thing. We were one of the strongest at the end but there are a lot of things to do to improve also. So, it’s good have a break right now. Give space for Yamaha to work hard and to try improving the bike. It was impossible to overtake. I couldn’t! Trying to overtake, I was going wide everywhere. I was going outside, inside, everything I tried. But, as their tyres started to drop, I started to overtake everyone, at Turn 8, downhill. I tried my best, I gave everything. The bike was working well, we just need to keep going.”
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