Photography by Gold & Goose
It didn’t happen quite the way people expected, but in the end Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez did what everyone expected. The rookie Spaniard won the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring and in the absence of Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo he took over the championship lead by two points over Pedrosa.
The championship took a dramatic turn in Germany, first when defending champ Lorenzo crashed Friday and withdrew with further damage to his collarbone originally injured in Assen. Then Pedrosa, following a crash on Saturday morning in which he highsided at turn one and landed heavily, suffered a minor fracture to his left collarbone. After a medical check-up on Sunday morning, he was cleared to take part in the warm-up but ultimately did not do so due to feeling unwell. Further checks resulted in a decision from Repsol Honda Team and Pedrosa himself to withdraw from the race due to low blood pressure. He will be examined upon his return to Barcelona on Monday, before discovering early in the week whether or not it will be possible to race at Laguna Seca next weekend.
In spite of the absence of the top two riders in the series there was an excellent race in Germany.
Valentino Rossi got off to a fast start and led the field in the early going. But then a roar came up from 85,000 Germans – their man Stefan Bradl passed Rossi to lead his home Grand Prix. Almost as amazing as the Hollywood script writers’ start, was the fact that CRT ace Aleix Espargaro ran third in the early going.
As expected it was Marc Marquez who was the man on the move. He quickly got by Espargaro and then moved up behind Bradl and Rossi. For a few laps the Honda rookie looked content to follow the leading pair, but then he made his move and got by Rossi and Bradl in rapid succession and immediately began pulling away.
Then it was the turn of Monster Energy Tech 3 Cal Crutchlow to make his move. After a few laps of a great three-way battle between Rossi, Bradl and Crutchlow, it was Crutchlow who managed to get ahead.
Crutchlow began chipping away slowly at Marquez’ lead, which started out at over 2.5 seconds. In the closing laps Crutchlow took more than a second out of Marquez’ lead, but when it got to about 1.5 Marquez seemed to be able to pick up the pace just enough to keep Crutchlow from getting close enough to get any ideas of a pass. At the checkered flag it was Marquez winning by 1.559 seconds, marking his second win of the season. For Crutchlow it was his best dry finish in MotoGP.
Rossi was about eight seconds back from Crutchlow in third, earning his third podium of the year.
“I didn’t expect to lead the championship after eight races,” Marquez said. “That was an important race. It felt a little bit different with Dani and Jorge away from the track. I took the lead and tried to manage the gap and it was a great experience for me. It is my second MotoGP win. Now we go to Laguna and that will be difficult for me since I never rider there.”
Bradl fell back to fourth, but got a massive cheer from his countrymen on the cool-down lap in appreciation for him leading the race. Alvaro Bautista took fifth earning his best result of the season.
American Nicky Hayden had another sub-par outing, finishing ninth on his factory Ducati. Colin Edwards scored world championship points yet again, taking 13th on the FTR Kawasaki.
Yonny Hernandez and Bryan Staring were the only crashers in the race.
Coming into Laguna Seca, Marquez, is leading the standings with 138 points. Pedrosa drops to second with 136 and Lorenzo is third with 127.
It’s a three-way battle for the championship now, but with the status of Pedrosa and Lorenzo up in the air for next week, Marquez seems to have the clear advantage at mid-season.
Results of the German Grand Prix – Sachsenring – Sunday, July 14, 2013
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 41m 14.653s
2. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 41m 16.212s
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 41m 24.273s
4. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 41m 28.645s
5. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 41m 36.428s
6. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 41m 39.733s
7. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 41m 44.680s
8. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 41m 44.977s
9. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 42m 0.008s
10. Michele Pirro ITA Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 42m 1.795s
11. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 42m 2.477s
12. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 42m 3.176s
13. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 42m 9.081s
14. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) 42m 14.976s
15. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 42m 20.183s
16. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT) 42m 23.806s
17. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 42m 30.254s
18. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (ART CRT) 42m 34.336s
19. Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) +1 lap
Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT)
Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT)