German Grand Prix, Sachsenring – raceday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has taken an incredible eighth win in a row at the Sachsenring, extending his run from the 125 World Championship to another year of the premier class – with all those wins from pole. It was anything but easy, however – with German rookie Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) pushing the reigning Champion on home turf throughout the race in a stunning ride to his first podium. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) completed the podium to get back in contention following a more difficult Dutch GP.
Marquez took the lead into Turn 1 from pole, with teammate Dani Pedrosa slotting into second as Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) sliced through from P6 on the grid to third, pushing Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Jonas Folger back.
Marquez and Pedrosa began to pull away in the lead as Folger charged through to get himself into third – and then started threatening the Repsol Honda duo in the lead. Choosing his moment, the German rookie then took Pedrosa and prepared to attack Marquez – pushing through soon after and below lap record pace.
With Petrucci through on Lorenzo into fourth, it was the ‘Doctor’ Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who struck next, with the number 46, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Petrucci then battling for fourth as Pedrosa began to drop back from the lead duo. Folger then headed wide and Marquez took the opportunity, but couldn’t shake the German.
That’s the way it stayed – with Marquez’ pitboard remaining +0.1 lap after lap, and the rookie not for giving up. Facing down the reigning Champion – chasing his eighth consecutive win at the track – Folger kept calm under incredible pressure, and even created some himself.
Finally it was a small mistake that saw Folger run deep, and Marquez pulled the pin to stretch the gap – eventually crossing the line for win number eight just over three seconds clear.
Folger kept it safe in the final laps to cross the line in second for his first premier class podium, sealing the deal in an incredible performance at his home race. Dani Pedrosa completed the podium after a more lonely ride in the latter stages, also bouncing back from a tough Dutch GP.
As the top ten battled it out further, Rossi had found his fourth under attack from Dovizioso, with Viñales then joining the fight and Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) soon on the scene. After some stunning wheel-to-wheel action, it was Viñales who took P4, with teammate Rossi for close company to complete the top five.
Bautista took P6 after proving a formidable force in the fight, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crossing the line in seventh for a good haul of points for the Noale factory ahead of the summer break.
Championship leader going into the race, Dovizioso crossed the line in P9 and remains third in the standings – ahead of a stunning comeback from Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) to move through from P19 on the grid. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) completed the top ten, with Jorge Lorenzo crossing the line in P11 after running at the front earlier in the race.
Danilo Petrucci was another who fell back, taking twelfth ahead of another double points finish for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the top fifteen.
The summer break now awaits, with MotoGP™ next on track at the beginning on August. And the Championship? The reigning Champion has one hand back on the throne after his German GP win, now five points clear of key rival Maverick Viñales. Dovizioso is now third – one point behind Viñales as the upcoming Brno and Red Bull Ring shine with promise for Ducati. Rossi lurks in fourth, only another four points off, with Pedrosa still very much in the fight in fifth.
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took another impressive win under intense pressure at the Sachsenring: first hunted by key title rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and then by a charging Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The Italian kept it calm and carried on, besting Oliveira to the line with rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) completing the podium behind the duel for the win.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took the holeshot from P2 on the grid, muscling out teammate Morbidelli into Turn 1 and leading the field on Lap 1. A big winner off the line was Lüthi, and the Swiss rider put in a storming first lap to take the lead into the first corner next time around. Morbidelli struck back against his teammate next, with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) hanging on to the lead trio.
A crash for Hector Garzo (Tech 3 Racing) was then followed by another for Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) at the same corner, before drama hit the front as Marquez hit the gravel, leaving Lüthi and Morbidelli clear in a duel for the lead.
Miguel Oliveira was next on the move as he began to hone in on Cortese, breaking free of the battle behind between Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing), Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Francesco Bagnaia to pass the German and take over in third before Cortese came under pressure from behind.
Morbidelli struck soon for the lead, with Lüthi then shadowing the Italian and sizing him up – before the Swiss veteran then suddenly slid out at Turn 12, unable to get back in the race and giving the standings an instant shake up.
That left Oliveira with a clear target ahead on the road as the KTM rider started to eat into Morbidelli’s lead. The battle for the podium then became a three-way battle between Corsi, Bagnaia and Pasini.
As the laps ticked down in a game of cat and mouse at the front, Oliveira showed Morbidelli his front wheel on a number of occasions, before the Portuguese rider struck at the end of the penultimate lap. Morbidelli hit back, and managed to keep the door firmly closed around the last lap – with the final corner almost neck and neck but the Championship leader taking another win to extend his advantage.
Behind Oliveira’s stunning charge to P2, Bagnaia won the battle to complete the rostrum and took another incredible podium in his rookie year – with Corsi just behind his compatriot and third Italian Mattia Pasini completing the top five. Pasini unfortunately also received notification of a technical infringement at the Catalan GP, and has had points earned in Barcelona deducted from his 2017 tally – another shake up in the standings.
Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) held off an impressive ride from 2016 Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the South African comes back from injury to take some more honour amongst rookies, with the two taking sixth and seventh respectively. Cortese crossed the line eighth after dropping back slightly in the latter stages, with teammate Marcel Schrötter taking ninth in a solid double top ten for Dynavolt Intact GP at home.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was a quiet superstar to complete the top ten after starting outside the top twenty, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing), Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40), Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) completing the top fifteen.
Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) took a hard-earned victory at the Sachsenring, as the Championship leader made his move on the final lap to hold it over the line after a three-way fight for the win. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) took second, with Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) completing the podium for his first rostrum finish in the World Championship.
Mir got away in the lead after a good start from the front row, with Marcos Ramirez chasing the Championship leader down and soon striking to take over in the lead. Fenati then slotted into third, with rookie Tony Arbolino (SIC58 Squadra Corse) staying up in the fight – and polesitter Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) the man to lose out most in the opening laps, dropping a number of positions.
As the race settled into a rhythm, a front group of five saw Mir, Fenati and Ramirez just ahead of Arbolino and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), with positions switching but the gap to those chasing remaining around four seconds. As Fenati, Mir and Ramirez gained some daylight behind them in the battle for the lead, drama struck for Arbolino as the Italian suffered a highside at Turn 2 to leave Bulega alone on track in fourth.
The fight for fifth – or what became fifth following Arbolino’s crash – was headed by home hero Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) and stretched all the way back to Mugello winner Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) in P19 in the second group. By half distance, Oettl had pulled away from those behind to slot into a lonely ride, but the German had company hot on the chase.
Over the line, Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was close to closing down Oettl, with the Italian only taking P6 by half a second after a much bigger previous gap to the German. Livio Loi (Leopard Racing) got back in the battle in P7 after some more difficult races this season, ahead of Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in eighth. There was also more impressive pace from Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) as the Japanese rider beat Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) to ninth, both bagging some solid points.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) came home in eleventh, ahead of Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team), Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team), Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) and Marco Bezzechi (CIP) to complete the top fifteen.
Aron Canet was a high profile DNF after a crash out of goods points contention, with British Talent Team rider John McPhee and Red Bull KTM Ajo injury replacement Danny Kent also sliding out. Canet’s DNF sees Fenati move above him in the title standings, with the gap to Mir at the top now over the Italian.