Marc Marquez has won the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, picking up his second MotoGP victory and seventh podium finish from eight races. In the absence of both Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, the same three riders were on the podium as at the Dutch TT, with Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi second and third.
The Sachsenring delivered another highly dramatic weekend, not least as numerous riders have suffered crashes. Crutchlow was one of them, heading into the race with injuries to his arms, hands and left leg, but heavy impacts for World Champion Lorenzo and erstwhile championship leader Pedrosa left both on the sidelines; the Yamaha Factory Racing rider bent the titanium plate in his shoulder, while the Repsol Honda Team rider sustained a small fracture, also to the left collarbone.
With both of his major rivals out of contention, Marquez – starting on his third pole position of the season – knew that a second race win (after Austin, Texas) would allow him to snatch back the advantage in the title race. A poor start saw the 20-year-old rookie drop to fourth place, but he picked off those ahead of him one by one and took the lead from home rider Stefan Bradl at the end of the sixth lap. Once Crutchlow took second, the Spaniard would manage the gap and win by 1.5 seconds.
Crutchlow’s own race started from second. Fighting the pain of his injuries after two large accidents on Friday, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider dispatched of Alvaro Bautista and Bradl before stealing second from Valentino Rossi in a strong move at Sachsen Kurve on Lap 16. He then looked to threaten for a career-first victory, but Marquez had been looking after his tires and was able to comfortably control the gap until the end of the 30th and final lap; nevertheless, Crutchlow becomes the first British rider since Barry Sheene in 1982 to collect four podium finishes in one season.
Having returned to winning ways at Assen, Rossi has now claimed consecutive rostrum placings. From his first front row start since the Portuguese Grand Prix of 2010, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider seized the lead as the red lights went out. He proceeded to battle with local favorite Bradl but was overhauled by eventual winner Marquez on Lap 5. Three laps later, Rossi passed the Bradl to go second, but then fell back to the final podium spot when Crutchlow steamed ahead.
Bradl’s fourth place for LCR Honda MotoGP may have meant that he has still missed out on the podium, but the German has again equaled his career-best result. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista completed the top five from eighth on the grid, while Tech 3’s Bradley Smith ended his day sixth - confirming two British riders in the top six of a premier race for the first time in two decades - from the impressive Aleix Espargaro; from fifth on the grid, the Power Electronics Aspar rider rode his CRT-specification bike in as high as third place before feeling the wrath of the prototypes.
A happy Marquez
Further down the order, the final points went to 13th-placed Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and the two riders who a day earlier had passed through to the Q2 shootout from Q1, with Danilo Petrucci and Claudio Corti 14th and 15th for Came IodaRacing Project and NGM Mobile Forward Racing, respectively. Two riders failed to see the end of the race, as there were crashes for both PBM’s Yonny Hernandez and Gresini’s Bryan Staring.
Round 9 of 18, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, will be staged at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend. This, the second leg of the first double-header this year, will bring the curtain down on the first half of MotoGP 2013. Marquez now carries a two-point championship lead over Pedrosa, with Lorenzo 11 behind the leader.
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