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Round Nine Sachsenring


Nine in a row is how Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) arrives into one of his best venues: the Sachsenring. A region that has a long racing history, it’s been reigned by Marquez in every class he’s competed in since 2010, with his success there often a pivotal part of his own history. Leading ahead of the summer break is a good prize and, although Marquez can’t cede the lead in the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, he can extend it and head into the break with a firmer hold on the top.

MotoGP Sachsenring Marquez GP AN
Will Marquez make it ten in a row in Germany….?

One venue earlier this season had hosted Marquez supremacy before 2019, however…and then everything went wrong. The Circuit of the Americas and Marquez’ crash out the lead show he’s not infallible, although the factors contributing to that crash, he says, are understood and overcome. So can it happen again? Or can he be beaten?


Marc Marquez

“The first back to back race of the season, I am excited. We had a good weekend in Assen and I am motivated as we now arrive at one of my favourites tracks. Of course, past results don’t mean a lot once we start on Friday so we have to keep working hard with the Repsol Honda Team to stay in front. Everyone says I am the favourite because I won in the past few years, but this sport is unpredictable and everyone said the same in Austin and I crashed. Then we will start just thinking about the weekend as every race.”

MotoGP Sachsenring Marquez GP AN
Marc Marquez – German GP 2018 – Image by AJRN

Two of the key challengers last season could prove true again. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) arrives flying high from his stunning win at the TT Circuit Assen, and the Sachsenring saw him take a podium last year.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Marquez Vinales Close
Maverick Vinales got one over Marquez last week at Assen

Yamaha have also come closest to deposing Marquez recently when Jonas Folger also took the fight to the reigning Champion in an incredible rookie ride in 2017. And Viñales’ team-mate Valentino Rossi beat him to second in 2018 and has winning form there, as he does everywhere. Despite a recent tough run for the ‘Doctor’, it was a sublime roll of form earlier in the year and everything can switch again in an instant.

MotoGP Sachsenring Rossi GP AN
Rossi was on the podium last year in Germany – Image by AJRN

That’s certainly proved true for Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) since his heartbreak in Jerez, and the French rookie now has two premier class podiums to his name despite still recovering from arm pump surgery.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Podium Vinales Marquez Quartararo
2019 Assen TT Race results:
1 – Maverick Viñales (SPA – Yamaha) 40’55.415
2 – Marc Marquez (SPA – Honda) +4.854
3 – Fabio Quartararo* (FRA – Yamaha) +9.738

Team-mate Franco Morbidelli has also been impressing and took a top five in Assen, splitting the Ducati Team duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, who had a more difficult weekend seemingly exacerbated by the heat. The field is so tight, those needing to gain points on Marquez or put in some solid damage control face far more than an easy ride to the podium.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Quartararo Vinales Marquez Dovizioso
It was a hectic three-rider battle for much of the Assen TT

Dovizioso is that man more than any other as it stands, as he remains the man closest to Marquez in the Championship. In the Dutch TT, however, the gap increased once again as he missed out on the podium. Can Germany see him close in a little? Traditionally it’s a tougher track for the red machines, but anything can happen in such close racing…and the weather can throw up some surprises too, traditionally a strong point for both ‘DesmoDovi’ AND Petrucci.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Marquez Vinales Dovizioso
This is about as close as Dovizioso got all race last weekend before drifting back into the clutches of Petrucci and Morbidelli as the race progressed

One man who could be a very interesting question mark is Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Qualifying woes were nowhere to be found at Assen, and the Spaniard got a great start to lead the way…and then crashed.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Rins Mir Quartararo Marquez Vinales
Alex Rins led a Suzuki 1-2 in the opening stages of the Assen TT

But before the blip Rins’ points scoring run has been impeccable and previously it was Germany last season the Suzuki rider last failed to score. What does that mean? It means we don’t have a good reference for his speed at the track, which has sky-rocketed everywhere in 2019 anyway, and that combined with the sweet-handling Suzuki could make an interesting addition to the stakes at one of the tightest and twistiest venues of the year.

Rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) got back on form at Assen too, and although he trails Quartararo by a margin in the fight for Rookie of the Year, he joined the Frenchman in leading a premier class race for the first time, albeit briefly.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Mir Dovizioso Petrucci
Joan Mir showed flashes of brilliance at Assen

There’s another interesting addition in the battle in Germany, too. Jorge Lorenzo remains sadly sidelined at the Repsol Honda Team, and it’s a home hero taking his place: test rider Stefan Bradl. The German has podium form in the premier class and even in wildcard appearances since, he’s impressed to bother the tight fight for Q2 and the big points finishes. What can he do on home turf?


Stefan Bradl

“I’m very excited to join the Repsol Honda Team in Germany. It’s a special race for me as my home race, obviously I am very sorry for Lorenzo and I wish him the fastest recovery possible and to come back strong. I am glad to be able to help the team and HRC, let’s see what this weekend brings. We have been working well with Honda and I am grateful to them for this opportunity.”

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Stefan Bradl

KTM are eager to make further steps forward. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) suffered with some pain from a crash in the Barcelona test last time out so he’ll be hoping to be back up to full speed, and team-mate Johann Zarco also suffered in Assen. KTM will be hoping for more in Germany.

The fight for top Independent Team rider is also tight. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) leads the way despite a tougher Assen, but Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) isn’t far behind.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Miller
Jack Miller didn’t have an easy time at Assen but stayed on the bike to bag good points

Crutchlow’s team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) had some awful luck last time out as Rossi skittled him out of contention, but he’s been on some serious form and has recently beaten Crutchlow a few times.

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini could also make some bigger steps forward in Germany, with Aleix Espargaro having a few more days to recover and Andrea Iannone making some solid progress for his first top ten of the season last week in the Netherlands.

MotoGP Rnd Assen Iannone
Andrea Iannone showed serious speed at times during the Assen TT weekend

Tyres

Germany’s Sachsenring is a 3,671m anti-clockwise circuit which places huge stresses on the left-hand-side of the tyre. The 10 left and 3 right turns, with just a 700m straight, equates to the tyre spending more time on a left lean angle than upright and with this replicated over the 30-laps of the MotoGP race it means the Michelin Power Slicks have a specific and demanding requirement placed upon them. The allocation sees the first time this season when the whole range will be asymmetric, with all front tyres and all rears featuring a hard left, with the right being a much softer compound to warm up quickly when the rider needs the grip in one of the three right turns.

Sachsenring MotoGP Circuit
Sachsenring MotoGP Circuit

MotoGP Championship Points Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Marc Marquez Honda SPA 160
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 116
3 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 108
4 Alex Rins Suzuki SPA 101
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 72
6 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 67
7 Maverick Viñales Yamaha SPA 65
8 Jack Miller Ducati AUS 60
9 Pol Espargaro KTM SPA 52
10 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 51
11 Takaaki Nakagami Honda JPN 48
12 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha ITA 45
13 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia SPA 31
14 Joan Mir Suzuki SPA 30
15 Jorge Lorenzo Honda SPA 19
16 Andrea Iannone Aprilia ITA 18
17 Johann Zarco KTM FRA 16
18 Miguel Oliveira KTM POR 15
19 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 11
20 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 9
21 Tito Rabat Ducati SPA 9
22 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 6
23 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki FRA 3
24 Hafizh Syahrin KTM MAL 3
25 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 2
26 Bradley Smith Aprilia GBR 0

Source: MCNews.com.au

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