Blog writer's dream at the Sachsenring

Former MotoGP™ commentator Nick Harris reflects on an incredible return to form from Marc Marquez

One lap into the Liqui Moly German Grand Prix on Sunday and it was the blog writer’s dream. I was spoilt for choice at the Sachsenring. Sometimes but not very often if at all this season, I have got the old grey cells working overtime to research an interesting subject but no such problems as they started the second lap of the 30-lap race around the shortest circuit on the calendar.

Marc Marquez leading the way chasing his 11th successive win at the Sachsenring and his eighth in the premier class. The Repsol Honda rider qualified in fifth place, the best since his return to Grand Prix racing, and made a great start from the second row diving up the inside at the infamous turn one before taking the lead at the last corner of the first lap. In second place Spaniard Aleix Espargaro chasing his first-ever podium finish on the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini after starting from the front row of the grid. It was the first time the Italian factory better known for 125 and 250 cc two-stroke success had begun a four-stroke race from the front row.

They had never finished on the podium in the four-stroke MotoGP™ era and it was way back in the 500cc class Jeremy McWilliams was bringing them success on the 500cc twin-cylinder machine. Who will ever forget that pole position at Phillip Island in Australia 21 years ago and those two third places at Mugello and Donington by the Ulsterman in 2000?

A year earlier former 250cc World Champion Tetsuya Harada stepped up to the premier class and finished third at Le Mans and Donington. Two years earlier Doriano Romboni brought the Italian factory their first premier class podium with a third-place at Assen behind Mick Doohan and Carlos Checa Four-stroke success did not follow but Aleix was on the charge from the front row.

In third place was pole sitter Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) chasing his first-ever MotoGP™ victory. The Frenchman riding the Pramac Ducati had already finished on the podium four times this season and was second in the Championship behind countryman Fabio Quartararo. Five years ago, Zarco won the Moto2™ race at the Sachsenring on route to retaining his World title and this was his big chance to do it again.

It was the perfect scenario but of course, it could not last. When those spots of rain started to fall it became obvious that the battle at the front between Marquez and the magnificent Miquel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) on the RC16 was going to be the focus. What a return to winning ways for Marquez after a brilliant controlling ride at the front against the Portuguese rider who already looks like a Championship contender. Those two Grand Prix in Austria at the beginning of August should provide some homecoming for KTM.

It was Marquez’s first win since the final round of the 2019 season in Valencia. It was his eleventh successive win at the Sachsenring and his eighth in the premier class. He goes one better than Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who won seven consecutive premier class races at Mugello but as often happens a certain Giacomo Agostini is still the man to beat. The 13 times World Champion and 122 times Grand Prix winner. won nine successive 500cc races on the MV Agusta at the Imatra street circuit in Finland between 1965 – 1973 and even returned in 1975 to win on the two-stroke Yamaha. He also won eight successive premier class races at the wonderful Spa Francorchamps Belgium circuit all on the four-stroke MV Agusta.

This time it was Marquez but on Sunday in Assen it could so easily be the turn of Aleix or Johann. One thing for certain there will be no problem for the blog writer finding a suitable subject.

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