Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completes a decade of dominance at the Sachsenring after cruising to a 4.5 second victory at the 2019 HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, the reigning Champion makes it 10 wins in a row in Germany to beat Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).
Marquez was sluggish off the line and it looked like he would get swallowed up heading into Turn 1 but the number 93 was last of the late brakers to dive back into the lead. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) slipped back from second to sixth at the start as Viñales, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Rins and Crutchlow all got past the Frenchman. And then, Quartararo’s race ended at Turn 3. The rookie went to get back past Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci on Lap 2 but the front of his Yamaha washed away from him as the 20-year-old crashed out of a race for the first time this season.
At the forefront of the MotoGP™ freight train, Marquez was conducting the pace from Viñales, with Crutchlow and Rins demoting Miller down to fifth as the top four started to edge clear of the rest. Edging clear of everyone though was King of the Ring Marquez. A 1:21.228 – a new lap record – on Lap 5 saw Marquez’ lead creep up to just under a second over Rins, with the latter also stretching his advantage over Viñales and Crutchlow to the same distance.
Marquez was in the groove as the seven-time Champion showed exactly why the Sachsenring is his playground. The Repsol Honda man wasn’t powering away at a rapid rate, but a tenth a lap on Laps 8 and 9 saw his lead go up to 1.5, but then the hammer was well and truly down. Lap 10 saw Marquez go 0.4 faster than Rins as the gap rose above the two-second barrier and from then on, there was no stopping the nine-time Sachsenring winner.
The battle for the second and third steps on the podium was on though. 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. At this point, the battle for fifth place was also hotting up as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci were going head-to-head with fellow GP19 rider Miller, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro.
In the race for P2, disaster then struck at the top of ‘The Waterfall’. Rins remained 0.9 clear of Viñales and Crutchlow but at the Ralf Waldmann corner, the Suzuki slid out of contention for his second consecutive DNF. This left Marquez with an unassailable 4.9 lead with 12 to go.
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 the entirety and with two laps to go, the duo were separated by nothing. However, the number 35 then had a scare at Turn 10. A warning sign to the British rider that the left-hand side of the tyre wasn’t far away from throwing in the towel, with Crutchlow running wide and subsequently giving up the second place chase. 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 who both managed to do it for six straight years.
Viñales crossed the line to take his second straight podium of the season with Crutchlow getting his equal best result of the year in third, his first rostrum since the Qatar GP after battling a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a small fracture to the top of his tibia this weekend. The podium may have been decided but 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 as it was Mir vs the three GP19s. 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. They both ran wide as Miller dived beneath them both, but the number 04 was aggressive and claimed P4 from the Australian as the battle between the Ducatis went down to the wire. Petrucci led them onto the last lap and he would hold fourth as the chequered flag came out, a terrific performance after his big get-off in Q2, Dovi produces another fine fightback to take P5 from P13 on the grid, with Miller settling 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 (Petronas Yamaha SRT) finishes ninth in Germany to build on his fifth place in Assen as Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) grabbed his second top ten of the season, a cracking effort from the German rider in front of his home fans.
Was it ever in doubt? Probably not as Marquez' King of the Ring reign stretches to a decade. The seven-time Champion goes into the summer break with a 58-point buffer over Dovizioso in the Championship standings, with Petrucci just six points off his teammate.
The MotoGP™ riders have three weeks off now. It's time to recharge the batteries ahead of the Czech GP at the start of August.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 4.587
3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 7.741
4. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) + 16.577
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 16.669
6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 16.836
7. Joan Mir (Team Ecstar Suzuki) + 17.156
8. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 19.110
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 20.634
10. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) + 22.708
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