Fans saw a great race at the German GP – fierce, close and varied to the bitter end. However, that was for fourth place.
Miles away, all alone up front, Marc Marquez made the remarkable look mundane, as he sauntered away to a tenth successive Sachsenring pole-to-flag victory, grabbing a new lap record on the way.
The German GP was dry, but the 3.671-km circuit outside Chemnitz had been rendered slippery by overnight rain. But that was not an excuse for the crash that interrupted the mini-purple patch of super-rookie Fabio Quartararo. The Petronas Yamaha rider had qualified on the front row again for the fourth race in succession and fifth time this year and was tipped for a third successive podium … but the expected challenge to Ring-Master Marquez ended on only the second of 30 laps when he slipped off out of sixth place, trying too hard to make up for a poor start. “I made a bad decision, a little bit of bad thinking in my head,” he said.
Marquez’s start from pole had not been brilliant, but he risked everything with late braking and a wide entry to the first tight corner so as to carry out his pre-race strategy: to lead from start to finish. “For two laps I warmed the tyres, then pushed for ten laps, then for the next ten I saved the tyres … then the last laps just tried to manage the gap”.
Maverick Vinales (Monster Yamaha) had started well from the far side of row one, but by the fourth lap, it was Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki) chasing the leader, while Vinales was coming under pressure from Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).
Rins kept Marquez honest, but by lap ten, the gap had stretched to two seconds. Eight laps later Rins lost the front into the notorious Waterfall corner crashing out of contention.
Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) had started well, ahead of Crutchlow, but then dropped back into the clutches of the factory Ducatis. Until now they’d been under severe pressure from Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), who had Valentino Rossi (Monster Yamaha) inches behind … but now Joan Mir (Ecstar Suzuki) had found his way past the pressing Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia, and the fight became feistier. Mir got through to what was now fifth behind Petrucci, but a slip on lap 23 let Dovi through, and a couple of laps later Miller as well.
The quartet continued to the flag, over the line in just over half a second, with Petrucci having fought back ahead of Dovi and Miller ahead of Mir.
Rossi was next, less than two seconds adrift, eighth his first finish in four races.
Marquez now has a 58-point lead over Dovizioso, as MotoGP heads into the summer break.
Words Michael Scott