Another salvage job on Sunday, honestly one of the toughest weekends in a long while. Happy to get home with some more points on the board finally reached my long time goal of hitting 100 points. Definitely looking forward to Aragon this weekend to try get back towards the front of the pack. I didn’t see any lemons 🍋 on the grid but my grid girl must have found some think she might have been disappointed standing in P16😂😜 Thanks Pramac Racing as always.
Crutch Piece and I had a nice battle going while trying to limp home on the tire that didn’t have the best feeling from start to finish as you can probably tell in this picture but was happy to put more points on the board always fun racing your mates! 😂
“It was a perfect strategy. But I didn’t have a perfect start as I ran a little deep at Turn One. After that my plan was two slow laps to warm the front tyre well and then push, and it’s exactly what I did. Step by step I opened the gap and followed the plan as I needed to. Once the gap was at three seconds I stayed there and saved the tyre and enjoyed riding. It’s a great feeling to win here again and to enter the summer break in this way. Congratulations also to my brother for his win today, it’s always really nice to win together! I want to say thank you to the Repsol Honda Team for their work in this race and the first half of the season.”
Maverick Viñales – P2
“We discovered quite early this weekend that second place might be the best we could do here, so with that in mind we achieved the objective. For us it’s really good, second is my best result here. I started well, I did a good first few laps. This result means a lot, it prepares me for Brno. I’m really happy, we understand the way to go. Yamaha is working in a good way, and I know our strong and weak points. It’s good that we have a summer break to improve the bike and improve myself. The tyre choice was very difficult, I took a gamble with the hard because I worked most of the time with this tyre. It was on the limit if I could or could not finish the race, and I said to myself ‘If I need to slow down in the last ten laps, I will, but I will be at the front’. I’m very pleased for Yamaha, it’s very important to get a consecutive first and second place. I saw Cal on my pit board the whole time and for about fifteen laps I closed every door. I worked very hard on making sure he couldn’t overtake me, because I knew if he did, he would go. Luckily I was second, so I’m very pleased and happy. I can’t wait for Brno to try out the new things and see if we take a step.”
Cal Crutchlow – P3
“First of all, it’s great to be on the podium at the HJC Grand Prix, the team did a fantastic job. We worked all weekend on what we thought would be a race pace. Yesterday I did around the 28 lap mark a 22.7 and that’s exactly what I did on the 28th lap today. Everybody was shocked when my pace was that, but I thought that would be the pace in the race and it was. The track condition was not great, in the middle of the race I had a bit better pace than Maverick (Vinales), but once (Alex) Rins crashed I thought I’m on the podium anyway and we had nine seconds to the guys behind and the gap was going up every lap. I planned to attack with five laps to go, but the wind was so strong that my eyes were streaming with water, so I tried to blink it out and he (Vinales) got a bit of a gap. I came again, but then with two laps to go I made a big mistake in turn 10 and lost the rear of the bike. So after that I said Maverick could have it, I’m very happy with the podium today, the team and Honda have worked very, very hard and we deserve it.”
Danilo Petrucci – P4
“Today we did our best, making a strong comeback to finish fourth and take home important points for the championship. It’s been a complicated weekend, but fortunately yesterday’s crash didn’t particularly compromise our performance during the race. I was able to get off to a strong start from twelfth place on the grid and I immediately recovered some positions, then I simply tried to manage the rear tyre in the best way possible. It wasn’t easy to hold off the other riders of the pack, and once again I had a fun battle with Andrea and Jack. The only negative note is the gap from the winner, but I think we achieved the best possible result today. Now we’ll take a small break, during which we’ll work hard to be even more competitive by the time we’re back in action and make up ground in the championship.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P5
“Today we had another exciting battle with Danilo for almost the entire race and claimed fifth position in a sprint to the finish line to bring home important points in one of the most difficult tracks for us, which is undoubtedly positive. However, we couldn’t have done more during the race and the gap shows how we still need to improve under some aspects to be able to fight at the front in each situation. We’re still second in the championship despite the bad luck we had in Barcelona and the issues we encountered in the last couple of races. For sure we won’t give up and we’ll try to put this short break to good use and find some new solutions to be more competitive, starting from next round at Brno.”
Jack Miller – P6 (First Independent)
“To be honest, I thought I could do better. I had the pace to attack the two official Ducati on the last lap but in the end, I preferred not to make mistakes and take home important points that allow me to go on holiday as the first Independent rider.”
Joan Mir – P7
“It was really nice to fight for top positions in a quick group, but I made some mistakes and I had to recover some places, which cost me a bit. Anyway, I’m happy with my performance and my pace, it was difficult to pass the other riders in front of me, but I gave it my best shot and I could bring home seventh. Now it’s time for a little break with my family, and then I’ll start preparing for part two!”
Valentino Rossi – P8
“I‘m not satisfied because it was a difficult race, I suffered a lot. First of all, we used the medium rear tyre because Michelin said to us that it would be impossible to race with the hard, but I had a lot of sliding and not enough grip, so this was the first problem. The bigger problem was that in Assen in the race I felt strong, so here we tried to confirm it, but in reality I wasn‘t very fast, I didn‘t feel good with the bike. This is a difficult moment, because the last time when we were here, at this part of the championship, I was very competitive. From Le Mans to Sachsenring I did some good races. This year it‘s been a lot more difficult, so we need to get a better understanding, because I don‘t have a great feeling with the bike and I‘m not as fast as we want.”
Franco Morbidelli – P9
“It was a strange race for me. I was in the big group stretching from fourth back, but I couldn’t attack and had to stay behind. I tried to manage the tyres, but even then they dropped off a little and I lost my position within the group. We came home in the top ten, but the feeling in the race was completely different from practice. Now we’ve got time to relax and study everything, and we can start where we left off in Brno with some new ideas.”
Stefan Bradl – P10
”All weekend I was able to really enjoy riding and working with the team. Not many people are able to ride in Repsol Honda colours at home so it was a very special weekend for me and I enjoyed every moment. A big thank you to the team as they were incredibly welcoming and we were able to work extremely well together. Our approach in the race was good, maybe if I had been a little more aggressive in the opening laps I could have stayed with the group in front better and been stronger but still, a top ten was my target. I was able to be consistent and achieve what we set out to do for myself, the team and HRC.”
Pol Espargaro – P12
“The start was not amazing – we had a small electronic problem – but the first half of the race was OK and I was fighting with some other riders. I was trying to keep the tyre but towards the end it was finished and I was really disappointed to suffer such a big drop on the rear. I could not ride or do anything because there was so much spin. We tried our best today. Now it is time to relax a little bit and then go hard again in the Czech Republic.”
Andrea Iannone – P13
“We are headed into the summer break on an upward trend. From Barcelona on, we took a small step and we need to pick up from here for the second half of the season. It was not an easy race today. I struggled with fresh tyres, but as the laps went by, I began to improve. We are taking some points home, but more than anything, I have more confidence in the saddle. We are able to understand the RS-GP better and we are very clear about which points we need to work on. I hope that the guys at home are able to get something new ready already for Brno. Our goal from here on is to battle consistently for the top 10.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P14
“It was a really tough day, like yesterday. The situation is that my whole body was getting worse not better so unfortunately it was a difficult two days. But yesterday was good, we did really well considering my condition. During the warm-up, the doctor gave me some injections to help with the pain which helped a bit. During the race there was a lot of pain and it was difficult. Over the last eight laps I had lack of grip on the rear and I had to slow down, but we scored a few points and that’s quite positive. Now we have three weeks off and tomorrow I’m going back to Japan so I will have time to rest, especially my left foot. We have time, so I will try to recover soon and I’m really looking forward to working with the team in the second part of the season.”
Hafizh Syahrin – P16
“The beginning of the race was really good but after ten laps we had a very big drop. I tried to keep the pace but it was impossible in the left corners to keep the grip. It was easy to spin and many times, I was sliding a lot. I couldn’t ride the bike comfortably and was fighting especially with the left side. I just continue working hard, even if we go into the summer break now.”
Pecco Bagnaia – P17
“It was a very particular weekend. I had to skip the FP2 for the FP1 crash and my physical condition was not at its best. Saturday’s practice was positive and even in the warm-up there was confidence. I didn’t expect to struggle so hard in the race. I can’t wait to be in Brno.”
Miguel Oliveira – P18
“It’s a sad finish this weekend because I think it was one of my strongest I had all season. I was very consistent in terms of race pace and also quite fast. It’s a shame that I made this mistake early in the race because after the crash even with a broken winglet I was quite fast and I had the pace to be inside the top 10. It is frustrating, but the most important is, that after the crash we picked up the bike and continued the race, which was very important for me in order to get information for the team and to learn from this, also to keep working hard to be fast again in Brno.
Alex Rins – DNF
“I lost a podium today. My feeling with the bike was really nice and I tried to get into second place as soon as possible because I felt that my rhythm was strong. Unfortunately, I lost the front on a fast right-hander, I entered into it just a couple of kilometres per hour faster than usual, and that’s why I crashed. It’s a shame because it’s my second DNF in a row, but I still feel positive because my pace has been good recently and I know I can get good results again when we come back after the break.”
Johann Zarco – DNF
“My start was quite correct but there was a lot of sliding in the cooler conditions. I was expecting this and tried to keep consistent and limit the mistakes but in Turn 3 I came into the corner – maybe with too much lean – and lost the front. It’s a shame because I was in the points and that was the target. I know what I will do during the summer break and I am motivated to work and come back stronger in the Czech Republic.”
Aleix Espargaro’ – DNF
“We were finally competitive. I’m sorry for the team and for all those who work on this project. When you end a race with a crash, you are usually angry about it, but today I am pleased because we were able to stay with the group where we want to be battling, from fourth to tenth place. I had a good start. I didn’t have great grip on the rear, but I was very strong in braking and I managed to stay up with Rossi. When he overtook Morbidelli, I struggled to do the same and I got a bit frustrated. When I got past him and tried to close the gap, I made a small mistake on turn 1 and crashed. We are not in the fight for the title, so when I saw the chance to take eighth, I went for it. It’s a pity about how it ended, but I am very pleased about how we did this weekend.”
Fabio Quartararo – DNF
“I made a small mistake; I was trying to overtake another rider and I hesitated a little about whether or not to do it and ended up going into the corner with too much speed and lean angle. It’s the first mistake I’ve made in a race, and I’ll learn from it and come back stronger. The first half of the season has been really positive – we didn’t expect some poles and podiums. I’m happy with the balance of the year so far and really looking forward to the second half.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We already predicted yesterday that managing the rear tyre would be key in today‘s race, and that was indeed the case. Maverick had shown good pace here all weekend, so we knew the tyres were performing well, but managing the degradation over the whole length of the race is challenging, especially when under pressure from a chasing rider, like Mack was today. He did a fantastic job. He was very consistent and precise, so this second place is well-deserved. Vale used the medium rear tyre, but it didn’t behave like we predicted. We had expected a better consistency, especially in the second part of the race, but it didn’t keep up its performance level. Because of this Vale wasn’t able to attack at the end of the race. We now have a three-week break which we will use to recharge before we head to Brno, where we will have some things that our riders can try during the test.”
Davide Brivio – Team Suzuki Ecstar Manager
“It was a pity for Alex that he crashed, because he was in a good position and he had space around him, therefore we missed a chance for another good result. But these things happen. Joan did a really good race, he was faster than his group at times, but it’s difficult to overtake here in Sachsenring. Anyway, it was great for him to be around much more experienced riders, and battle with them. We’re looking forward to the second half of the season, we’re competitive and we can try to go for good results. We’ll do our best.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager
“The weekend was not so good because we are at a point where 12th position does not make us happy any more. Pol had a lot of issues in the race with the tyres and the bike. He could stay with the group in the first half of the race but then the lap-times dropped dramatically. It was not what we expected. The crash from Johann so early was not good for him or for us. Miguel also had a slide but afterwards his pace and lap-times were great. At least we can look at a top ten position in the championship for the summer break and now Dani [Pedrosa] and Mika [Kallio] will do some tests for us. We’ll analyse the last GPs because we’ve had some really good ones. Difficult races like today often mean you learn even more. The company will not stop working or pushing and we will come back stronger after the break.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager
“We aren’t very happy with the race, with Fabio on the ground on lap two and Franco having a difficult time keeping his tyres alive. But in the end, he finished the race in the best way possible, scoring valuable points after a few DNFs earlier this season. It wasn’t our best performance of the year, but after eight races we can be proud with what we’ve achieved. I’m looking forward to a good break because I think we all need it and deserve it, and then we can come back in Brno and achieve a little bit better than today.”
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager
“This has been a very frustrating last round before the summer break for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team. We knew with Miguel we had a very strong pace, we did a great FP3 and an even better FP4. Unfortunately, one more time, we didn’t qualify well enough and I think that is something we have to work on very much for the second part of the season. Clearly, the start was quite good from Miguel, average for Hafizh. Miguel was in the good group and unfortunately, although he is a rider that very, very rarely does a mistake, he did one and that was a costly mistake at the wrong moment. He was brave to pick up the bike, back on track with a broken winglet on the right side and completely bent brake lever. Even though, he pushed and was doing impressive lap times with the bike quite damaged. What is leaving us even more sad is the fact, that this pace would have been good enough for the top 10 or even the top 8, which means for the best result of the season so far. Of course, it would have been great to leave on holidays with that result. We know we can, but we need to make it and prove it on paper. This is a pity, but I just want to say ‘Good job, Miguel! Thank you for staying on track, thank you for pushing and this is something that for sure will make you a better MotoGP rider and I’m sure you learned quite a lot today!’ On the other side, I don’t know what to say, because the Qualifying position was a bit better for Hafizh than Miguel. The start was, as I said earlier, not ideal, but anyway, he passed a few guys ahead of him and was 15th, so we were quite happy when he was fighting with Nakagami in front. We thought that could be at least one of the guys finishing in the points and having a bit of positive feeling before the end of this first part of the season. Unfortunately, we saw his pace dropping dramatically, many riders passed him. I can’t explain it, because it looks like the same scenario every weekend; at the end of the race, there is no grip, much sliding, no pace. That was in Assen, but then we got the carbon swingarm, which is supposed to be better. Clearly, the tyre wear is more than Miguel, who has been a lot faster than his teammate today. So, maybe there is also something to understand about how to handle the bike, how to set it up and how to ride it. But I am disappointed with that result, because I’m sure today Hafizh had the possibility to score a point or two, minimum and we didn’t do it, which is a shame. Still I wish everybody a great break and hopefully we can start on a good base in Czech Republic for the second part of the year.”
Round Nine – Sachsenring MotoGP Race Results / Report
Marc Marquez proved who’s boss at Sachsenring over the weekend taking his tenth victory at the track in a row, having claimed an early lead from Turn one and then proceeding to lead for the entire duration, finishing +4.587 ahead of Maverick Vinales.
“My plan was try to lead from the beginning to the end, that was my mentality. For that reason the start wasn’t perfect but I took a lot of risk in the first corner, I braked so late and I was able to be in there and then the first two laps I was just cruising and trying to understand the limit of the track after the rain. Then when I saw the tyres were ready, I was ready and the bike was ready, then I started to attack. I started to do low 1:21s, that was my rhythm in the first ten laps, and apart from that, when I saw Rins was three seconds behind me, then I started to save the tyre and finish the race.”
That makes it ten wins in a row in Germany for the reigning Champion, all from pole, with Maverick Viñales and Cal Crutchlow completing the podium. Marquez’ win for the seventh successive time in the premier class at the Sachsenring also equals Valentino Rossi’s record of premier class wins in a row at one venue, set in Mugello from 2002-2008.
Despite a bad start Marquez kept it pinned into Turn 1, the last of the late brakers able to emerge in the lead as Fabio Quartararo slipped back from second to sixth at the start; Viñales, Jack Miller, Alex Rins and Crutchlow all getting past the Frenchman. The first shot of drama would come from the Frenchman too as Quartararo’s race suddenly ended at Turn 3 on Lap 2, the rookie going to get back past Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci but the front washing away in his first ever premier class crash out of a race.
The battle at the front at that point was more a freight train, with Marquez conducting the pace from Viñales as Crutchlow and Rins demoted Miller down to fifth. The top four started to edge clear of the rest, but edging clear of everyone was King of the Ring Marquez as a 1:21.228 – a new lap record – on Lap 5 saw his lead creep up to just under a second. The man in second was Rins, and he was also stretching his advantage over Viñales and Crutchlow to the same distance, but Marquez was in the groove.
The seven-time Champion showed exactly why the Sachsenring is his playground, not powering away at a rapid rate but instead eking out a tenth here and there, his lead gradually increasing until he suddenly put the hammer down. Lap 10 saw Marquez go 0.4 faster than Rins as the gap rose above the two-second barrier. From then on, there was no stopping the now ten-time Sachsenring winner.
The battle for the second and third steps on the podium was heating up, however. Crutchlow was shadowing Viñales, who in turn was sitting a second back from Rins, with the gap remaining constant between the trio as we passed the mid-stage of the race. And the battle for fifth place was very much on as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci were going head-to-head with fellow GP19 rider Miller, Joan Mir, Valentino Rossi and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro in a close fight for big points.
Nearer the front though, disaster then struck at the top of ‘The Waterfall’ for Rins. 0.9 clear of Viñales and Crutchlow, the Suzuki man suddenly skitted out at Ralf Waldmann corner for his second consecutive DNF. With the man on the chase down and out, it left Marquez with an unassailable 4.9 lead.
The last ten laps were just about controlling the gap for Marquez as he saw a 10th Sachsenring win appear ever closer, but who would finish second? Crutchlow had been attached to Viñales’ back wheel for some time to put the Spaniard under pressure and with two laps to go, the duo were separated by nothing.
But the number 35 then had a scare at Turn 10; a warning sign that saw Crutchlow running wide and subsequently keeping it calmer to give up the chase. Just ahead, Marquez crossed the line to win his fifth race of 2019, the seventh consecutive year he’s won five or more races in a premier class season – a record that sees him surpass MotoGP Legend Giacomo Agostini and nine-time Champion Rossi, both of whom managed to do it for six straight years.
Viñales crossed the line to take his second straight podium, with Crutchlow getting his equal best result of the year in third and his first rostrum since Qatar GP. The Brit’s ride was even more impressive as he battled a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a small fracture to the top of his tibia this weekend following a cycling mishap. Behind the top trio, meanwhile, there were important points in the Championship to be decided just down the road.
Rossi had lost touch on the battle for fourth in the latter stages, and it was Mir vs the three Ducatis. With Marquez out in front, second in the Championship Dovizioso needed to limit the damage as much as possible but Petrucci wasn’t going to let his teammate have it all his own way. The Italians exchanged P4 at the bottom of ‘The Waterfall’ before Dovi went to get back past Petrucci into Turn 1 with three to go and they both ran wide; Miller diving up the inside of both.
Dovizioso was aggressive though and attacked the Australian as the battle between the Ducatis went down to the wire, Petrucci leading them onto the last lap. The Mugello winner would ultimately hold fourth as the chequered flag came out, a terrific performance after his big crash in Q2, with Dovizioso producing another fine fight back to take P5 from P13 on the grid. Miller was forced to settle for a solid sixth.
Mir picked up his third consecutive top ten in seventh, a great ride from the rookie, with Rossi ending his run of three-straight DNFs with a P8 at the Sachsenring. Franco Morbidelli finished ninth in Germany, the first time he’d raced in the premier class at the track after missing out last year, with Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement Stefan Bradl grabbing his second top ten of the season in front of his home fans.
Tito Rabat put in a stunner to take P11 from last on the grid, ahead of a tougher race for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro. Andrea Iannone was 13th and top Aprilia after a crash for teammate Aleix Espargaro, with Takaaki Nakagami riding through the pain barrier to P14. Karel Abraham completed the points.
The summer break is now upon us and Marquez will doubtless be the most relaxed after extending his lead once again. But next up is Brno and it’s a good venues for some key rivals…as well as a few weeks away, giving the likes of Quartararo time to come back swinging. Will the reign continue? The Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky will decide…
This weekend Jack Miller is back at the scene of his brilliant and infamous 2016 victory at the Assen TT.
And of course it is that ‘Shoey’ on the podium that kicked off a bit of a craze that countryman Daniel Ricciardo also took to partaking in on an F1 podium shortly thereafter.
“Every time we get to about a week away, all I get tagged in on Instagram is me drinking out of my boot so it’s pretty good. It’s a track I’ve had success at in the past and I’ve always been pretty quick here, so I like it a lot. Last year was an awesome race, we were just hanging off the back of the group, couldn’t quite bridge the gap, but I got to watch it all unfold. I had front row tickets so hopefully this year we can be involved in it and rub some paint.”
And on season 2019 thus far for the 24-year-old…
“The finishing rate this year has been top five or zero so we’ll try make it a top five this weekend rather than a zero. Barcelona was a not a bad weekend, a track normally I don’t like too much. The Ducati goes well there but for some reason I never go that well there so to pull off a top five I was happy. It was an awesome battle through the whole race with Danilo, Alex and Fabio. I just ran out of grip at the end even though I was on the medium, I just couldn’t hang in the last five laps. But it was a lot of fun, a lot of bumping and barging and I’m assuming it’ll be like that again this weekend!”