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Home Heroes: Bradl leads the brigade

Five Germans are set to compete in front of their home crowd, Moto2™ bulging with Bavarian talent.

From Peter Oettl to Ralf Waldmann, German riders have had huge success in the past and have frequently featured as championship front-runners, especially in the smaller capacity classes. A number of those infamous German names have now had sons who are attempting to emulate and surpass their fathers’ achievements.

Helmut Bradl raced exclusively in the 250cc class between 1986 and 1993, the German taking five wins and 21 podiums from 84 starts. In 1991 he battled Luca Cadalora for the crown, just missing out on the championship. He retired from racing at the end of 1993 but returned to the paddock in 2005 with his son Stefan Bradl. Bradl trained hard and took his first win in 2008, his first full year in the 125cc World Championship. From his first races in the Spanish Championship he was praised universally for his highly technical mind and approach.

Bradl: "I’ve signed nothing, I’m ready to look around"

In 2011 Stefan Bradl was crowned Moto2™ World Champion after a season long battle with Marc Marquez, taking the title in the final round at Valencia. This saw Stefan Bradl become the first German championship since Dirk Raudies in 1993, but he wouldn’t be the last. His Moto2™ title earned him a move up to the MotoGP™ class in 2012, second place at Laguna Seca in 2013 his crowning achievement to date. After a difficult 2015 season, Bradl returned as strong as ever with the Aprilia team and helped them to achieve some of their best ever results during the start of 2016.

He arrives at his home GP looking to return to the points after two tough years at the track in 2014 and 2015. Before these difficult years he took to the podium twice at home, first in 2008 in the 125cc class and again in 2011 on his way to the intermediate class championship. He led his home GP in 2014, a tyre gamble working out at the start. Unfortunately issues with the setting of his suspension would see him drop back as the race went on.

Sachsenring 2014 - MotoGP - RACE - Full

The most recent German champion is Sandro Cortese who took the inaugural Moto3™ world title in 2012 after seven years in the lightweight class. During his championship-winning season he took a glorious home victory, the last German rider to win at the Sachsenring. With a championship under his belt, he moved up to the Moto2™ World Championship where he has struggled to find his feet. In 2013 he had a best finish of tenth, ending his rookie season in 19th overall.

Cortese’s Moto3™ title a dream come true

Since then he’s taken to the podium twice, third in Brno and Motegi in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Flashes of speed in 2016 have been punctuated by frequent crashes, Cortese only finishing four races out of the first eight.

Folger: “My style should suit the Yamaha”

Podiums have been more frequent for Jonas Folger since moving up to the Moto2™ class, but he has struggled to find the consistency to challenge for a championship. His 2015 season got off to a fantastic start with victories in Qatar and Jerez, but he’d have to wait till round 15 before he returned to the podium. The MotoGP Academy graduate was a hot favourite to challenge for the title in 2016, but since signing to ride in MotoGP™ in 2017 his best result has been a seventh.

Marcel Schrotter completes the trio of Germans in the intermediate class. Like his compatriots he has always shown flashes of speed, but has never finished higher than seventh. Since joining the Moto2™ class he has only once finished the German GP, taking 12th in 2014 aboard the Tech 3.

Highlights: Oettl claims maiden Moto3™ pole

Like Stefan Bradl, Philipp Oettl is the son of a famous German racer, in this case Peter Oettl. His dad took five wins between 1986 and 1997 but never a pole position. At the American GP in 2016 Philipp Oettl did something his father never did and took pole, going on to finish fourth. Now in his fourth full season of racing, Oettl has taken to the podium once when he was third at the Indianapolis GP in 2015.