Championship leader Marc Marquez veered away from the race-track during Sunday’s German MotoGP and dropped to the fourteenth place at one stage. But the Spaniard, who has never lost at Sachsenring, engineered a great comeback and notched up another impressive victory. It was all about timing the change of tyres on the wet-dry track and Marquez’s strategy of swapping his wet tyres to slicks at the right time paid off. It had rained all afternoon and riders had no choice but to use the wet tyres. Nearly halfway through the race, dry lines emerged and Marquez decided in favor of the slicks. He ended the race nearly 10 seconds ahead of the second-placed LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow of Great Britain. More importantly, Marquez’s championship lead over his nearest rival, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo widened to 48 points.
Before Sunday, Spain’s Marc Marquez had scored 6 victories at Sachsenring going back to his days as a lower-class rider. He first won here in 2010 as a 16 year old in the 125cc class and when he graduated to Moto2 in 2011; won at Sachsenring twice more in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, he signed a contract with the Repsol Honda MotoGP team and recorded his fourth victory in Germany. In 2014 and 2015 he retained his winner’s tag at Sachsenring and completed the magnificent seven on Sunday. But his seventh win required some quick thinking on his part, since the track was rain-soaked to begin with and began drying only as the race progressed. In the qualifying earlier on Saturday, Marquez had secured his fourth consecutive MotoGP pole in the German GP. He had led throughout the Q2 session and clocked an impressive 1:21.160 late in the session to earn the top spot. Joining Marquez on front row were Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera and Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Octo Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci was fourth; Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro fifth; Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales sixth; Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso seventh; Aleix Espargaro of Suzuki Ecstar eighth; Andrea Iannone of Ducati ninth and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa finished tenth.
Sunday’s main event began on the wet track and all riders had the tyres to suit such conditions. But they all waited for the surface to dry and a chance to change into appropriate tyres. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi led the pack at the start and despite his top pole position; Marquez couldn’t keep pace with them. With track conditions becoming better, Andrea Iannone was the first to pit and changed to intermediate tyres at lap12. Over the next few laps, most riders went to pits and fitted their bikes with intermediate, slick or tyres of a combination intermediate and slick. Marquez was nowhere in the picture as he found himself unable to match the pace of the top bunch. As the Spanish rider struggled, he ran off the
Then came the Marquez masterstroke. He visited the pits for changing to slicks on lap-17. The tyres gave him instant speed and his lap times became much faster. With six laps remaining, Marquez shot into the lead and never looked back. With Marquez circling at top speed in the last few laps, Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow, Hector Barbera and Jack Miller were all pushed back one by one. There were simply helpless and couldn’t prevent Marquez from recording his seventh successive win at Sachsenring. With the track drying lap after lap, Cal Crutchlow could also push himself to the limits and after a brief fight with countryman Scott Redding, Crutchlow finished second. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was third; Scott Redding fourth; Andrea Iannone fifth; Dani Pedrosa sixth; Jack Miller seventh; Rossi eighth; Hector Barbera ninth and Alvaro Bautista of Aprilia Racing finished tenth.
The riders will now take a long break before the 10th meeting of the season at Austria’s Red Bull ring at Spielberg on August 14. For Marquez, his fourth MotoGP victory at Sachsenring, coupled with poor performances from Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, has taken his count to 170 on the championship leaderboard. Nine races have been run out of the MotoGP calendar of 18 and over the next nine, lot of things can happen. But at this juncture, Marquez looks the most likely winner of the 2016 World Championship. At 122 points, Lorenzo is 48 points adrift of Marquez and Rossi has a deficit of 59 with his total of 111.