#GermanGP Sachsenring – Raceday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) extended his advantage with a decisive win at the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, pulling clear of compatriot Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) for a French 1-2. There was a potentially key shift in the title fight on Sunday too, as Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) slid out early on, with teammate Jack Miller then going on to slice past two Aprilias to complete the podium – overcoming a Long Lap penalty he’d been given on Saturday.
Quartararo nabbed the holeshot from Bagnaia, and the number 63 got tucked in on the chase. He briefly took over at the start of Lap 2 but El Diablo hit back, and not long after disaster struck for Pecco, the rear sliding out on Lap 4. From that point on, Quartararo had the hammer down.
After that, Zarco was into second past Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Miller next up. The Australian then served his Long Lap for crashing under yellows on Saturday, dropping to seventh but soon back past Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing).
By then, Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was past Diggia and tucked in behind teammate Espargaro, applying the pressure for a good few laps. Would he make a move? It was the best show of pace so far from the number 12, but then bad luck hit: the ride rear height device got stuck, and that was race over for ‘Top Gun’.
After little more than 20 laps, Quartararo had stretched his margin over Zarco to more than three seconds. His fellow Frenchman enjoyed a similar gap over Aleix Espargaro, but Aprilia’s ‘Captain’ was coming under serious attention from Miller. The number 43 fired his Ducati down the inside at Turn 1 on Lap 23 but ran it in too deep, and the result was the same when he tried again on Lap 26. Ironically, Espargaro himself went wide through there on Lap 28 and Miller marched on through into third.
Quartararo got more than five seconds ahead of the rest of the field in the last handful of laps before cruising to victory by a final margin of 4.939 seconds. Zarco took the chequered flag 3.433 seconds up on Miller, with Aleix Espargaro a few tenths further back and off the podium.
Fifth was a stunning ride from Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), and he prevailed in a battle against fellow sophomore Martin, Marini also getting a little too close for comfort to the battle ahead in the latter stages.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM factory Racing) demonstrated once again that he is the quintessential ‘Sunday man’ by riding up from 15th on the grid to seventh, BB33 getting his elbows out. The top 10 was rounded out by Di Giannantonio, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) as the Beast recovered from as low down as P20 in the early stages.
Points were also scored by Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) in 11th just ahead of some more points for fellow rookie Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing). Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) were next up, ahead of Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing). Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) was the last rider to make it home after a race of attrition.
A further five riders joined Bagnaia and Viñales as DNFs. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) retired due to rib pain from a crash in Free Practice and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) also had a rear ride height device failure after it wouldn’t disengage after the start. His team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) crashed out, as did Darryn Binder (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The latter did so at Turn 1, moments after Bagnaia had gone down there, having been wide when Oliveira went to overtake him.
It’s now 34 points of breathing space for Quartararo at the top of the standings. Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro remains second in the title race after finishing fourth at the Sachsenring but the Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia has a mountain to climb after he crashed out while chasing Quartararo on Lap 4.
Augusto Fernandez dominated the Moto2™ Race at the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, slicing through to the front and then pulling away for a stylish second win of the season – and bringing himself within just 12 points of the Championship lead held by Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) as the Italian crashed out. Pedro Acosta made it a Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2 after a great last lap duel against Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), the Brit forced to settle for third but putting to bed a run of some bad luck.
Lowes was looking to end a run of five straight zeroes after he qualified on pole, and the Briton duly converted that starting position into the early lead. Home hero Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) came from fifth on the grid to emerge in second position in the opening corners of his home race, ahead of Fernandez, Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team), and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team). Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), meanwhile, dropped from sixth to 12th and Vietti from eighth to 10th.
Acosta moved into the top five when he got by Roberts on Lap 3 at Turn 1 and, after it looked like Lowes and Schrötter might break away from the pack, Fernandez took matters into his own hands. For three laps in a row, he went on the attack at Turn 3, getting Arenas on Lap 4, Schrötter on Lap 5, and then Lowes for the lead on Lap 6.
Near the end of that sixth lap, Acosta went underneath Arenas for fourth spot at Turn 12, and he was into the podium places at the end of Lap 7 after Schrötter had a big rear end moment as he opened the throttle exiting Turn 13. The German briefly dropped to fifth due to the near-crash but reclaimed one of those positions when he outbraked Arenas as they arrived at Turn 1 again, and keeping himself in contention for a rostrum finish.
Fernandez galloped to a one-second lead on Lap 8, and had doubled that in just three laps more. Lowes continued to run in second spot and Acosta in third, as Schrötter came under pressure from Arenas. By then, Canet had recovered as far as sixth position, but Vietti was having a much tougher task of it as he fought to try and get back into the top 10.
In fact, Vietti had slumped as far back as 14th when he was passed by Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) on Lap 14, before Lowes handed second to Acosta when he had a moment at Turn 3. Meanwhile, Fernandez was not letting up and his gap over second place had grown to four seconds.
Still, the rest of the top 10 was hotly contested and Canet ceded sixth to Fermin Aldeguer on Lap 16. Three laps later, he had lost seventh position to Aldeguer’s MB Conveyors Speed Up teammate, Alonso Lopez. Then, it was one of Canet’s key rivals in the World Championship who relegated him another spot. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who only qualified 14th, had passed Vietti for 12th in a key move in the context of the title fight on Lap 5, was into the top 10 on Lap 12 before overtaking Canet for eighth on Lap 20 at Turn 1.
Aldeguer got into the top five by passing Arenas, but the next really big moment was Vietti dropping his VR46 machine at Turn 1. The Italian looked to have completed a pass on Gonzalez for 11th position at the start of Lap 22 but folded the front…
Meanwhile, Lowes and Schrötter were coming back into the reckoning for second and Lowes passed Acosta on Lap 25 at Turn 12, but Acosta hit back on the next lap at Turn 2. The Brit hit back at Turn 11, only for the rookie to respond once more with a pass at the very next corner.
All of that dicing turned a duel into a four-rider battle as Schrötter and Aldeguer closed in. The German got by Lowes at the start of the penultimate lap but the Marc VDS rider returned the favour at the end of it. It seemed like it could hardly get any closer but then it did get as close as possible – literally – when Lowes and Acosta had a touch as they ran from Turn 12 to the final corner on the final lap.
Acosta hung on to claim second at the chequered flag, 7.704 seconds behind teammate Fernandez but 0.140 seconds up on Lowes. Schrötter was only another 0.115 seconds behind again, just missing out on another home GP podium, and Aldeguer was close behind in fifth, too. He would then have three seconds added to his race time as he got a Long Lap penalty for track limits and there was insufficient time to take it, but it made no difference to the final outcome as the Boscoscuro rider was classified fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Arenas, Lopez, Ogura, Canet, and Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team). The rest of the points finishers were Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team), Gonzalez, Roberts, Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia).
In the World Championship, Vietti is still on top, but his gap over Ogura has been cut to just eight points – and Fernandez’s win puts him into third at only 12 points back from the Italian, with Canet now 17 points off the pace at the halfway mark of the season.
Izan Guevara (GASGAS Aspar Team) proved both an unstoppable force and an immovable object at the front of the field in the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, turning his ominous pace into another stylishly conquered 25 points. The fight to complete the podium saw another two title fight titans duel it out, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) ultimately coming out on top ahead of Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Aspar Team), but not for lack of trying on the part of the Championship leader.
Into Turn 1 it looked like the Leopard duo of Foggia and teammate Tatsuki Suzuki had got the job done and leapfrogged Guevara, but the number 28 hung it round the outside to retain the holeshot. That spelled the start of an almost impossible task for his competitors, with the GASGAS rider already having shown ominous pace ahead of the race. And so it was, as he edged clear tenth by tenth and then really got the hammer down to make some serious breathing space.
As Guevara enjoyed the drama free track day experience at the front, there was plenty of drama behind, however. First an incident on Lap 1 saw Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) make contact with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse), with John McPhee (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) also pushed wide but remaining upright and getting back on track. But it turned out there had been drama already, as Kaito Toba (CIP Green power) jumped the start, and so too had Deniz Öncü. That made it game on for the Turk to overcome both a starting position outside the top 20 and then the requisite two Long Laps for the jump start.
Further ahead, Guevara was gone but it was a close fight for second and the rest of the podium. Foggia, Garcia, Suzuki and Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) had their elbows out for much of the race, but ultimately the two highest in the standings were able to pull clear – and put on a classic duel.
Guevara crossed the line with time to spare, but into the final corner Foggia vs Garcia went to the wire. And of course, the number 11 gave it a shot. He made it through but then suffered a wobble on the exit, and Foggia blasted back past for those valuable 20 points, leaving Garcia forced to settle for third.
Sasaki returned to action with another impressive top five, just under a second behind Garcia over the line and pulling a few clear of Suzuki as the second Leopard completed the top five.
Next came Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo), but the rookie had to work for it as he crossed the line just six tenths ahead of Öncü. From P24 on the grid via two Long Lap penalties, the Turk took 7th and keeps his incredible points-scoring streak in 2022: he’s the only rider who’s scored in every Moto3™ race so far.
Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech3) takes P8, with David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) also impressing again in ninth. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) completed the top ten.