Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez heads to the summer break with a perfect win record after mastering mixed track conditions at Sachsenring to claim his ninth victory of the 2014 MotoGP season. Memories from the last round at Assen came flooding back for the riders as the heavens opened just before the thirty-lap German Grand Prix was due to commence, resulting in sections of the circuit being wet at the start of the race. The mixed conditions left the riders having to face a decision on whether to start with slick or wet tyres, with nine riders starting from the grid on slick tyres, and the remaining fourteen starters starting from pit lane on slick tyres after pitting-in on wet tyres during the warm up lap.
After a chaotic start to the race, Marquez adapted to the drying track best and by the fifth lap had taken the race lead. Despite the less than ideal track conditions, Marquez was able to lap faster than he did in completely dry conditions last year and his quickest lap of the race near the end of the Grand Prix was just two-tenths shy of the Circuit Record Lap. On the other Repsol Honda, Dani Pedrosa also lapped at a fearsome pace to take second place just 1.466 seconds behind his teammate, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo made a fine return to form by finishing in third place for his third podium of the year.
The Sachsenring circuit still had some damp patches at the start of the race, resulting in twelve of the twenty-three riders opting for the soft compound front slick to ensure maximum grip and warm-up performance in the challenging conditions. Of the other ten riders, all except one selected the medium compound front slick with GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding the only rider to select the hard compound front slick. All riders selected their softer rear slick option for the race, with the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders using the medium compound rear, and the Ducati and Open-class riders selecting the soft compound rear slick. Marquez’s amazing first half of the season has him sitting seventy-seven points clear in the MotoGP rider’s classification, while Pedrosa now sits in second place and seven points clear of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who claimed fourth place in Germany.
“Before going out on track I thought it would be a similar race to the Assen, but in the end the surface dried out very quickly. I saw on the grid that Bradl had gone with the slick tyre option and I really had my doubts, because the area around the back of the track was still wet. I finally decided to see what Dani [Pedrosa] and Valentino [Rossi] were going to do, as they are my main rivals in the Championship and if you get it wrong in these races, you can lose a lot of points. That’s why I decided to copy their strategy. The race was nice, especially the first part which was when I enjoyed it the most!”.
“The start of the race today was a bit like Assen. Rainfall before the race meant that half the track was wet, and in the time we took to set up on the grid and do the warm up lap it had been drying out; there was only one wet corner, but it was very wet. We had to change to the bike with slicks and almost all of the riders started from pit lane. We couldn’t fight for victory but we were very close, Marc [Marquez] was very fast today, too. Now we have the test at Brno and will try to find a few tenths somewhere, so that we can go faster and be even stronger at Indy”.
“I’m satisfied because finally we got another podium. At the last two races I couldn’t do it for some reason. In the practice sessions I went fast on both tracks. I hoped to race in a dry race but in the last moment it started spitting so we went with wet tyres and after that we went into the pitlane for slicks. When I started the race and touched the front carbon brake it wasn’t warm enough to work, so to not touch the other riders I had to go onto the track. I let them pass again because it’s not allowed to make progress this way. The leaders were very strong at the beginning with the intermediate track. They had a gap of six, seven or eight seconds. I just needed one or two tenths to stay with them. Anyway, I had a good race and I did my best. I was very focused and riding very well. If we can gain one or two tenths on the competition we can try to win. Little by little we are coming closer. The bike improved a little with the electronics, the tyres are now working better with the bike and I am much fitter than last year. It makes me stronger, also mentally. I will be going to Spain to spend the holiday with my family and my friends and then come back to Yamaha for some more racing.”
“The rain was confusing today. Like in Assen we were unlucky with the weather. It rained just after the beginning of the race, but later the track started to dry. We had everybody starting from the pit so it was very difficult and also very dangerous. I was in a quite good position, but I didn’t have enough pace to fight for the podium. I knew that it would be very difficult to beat our rivals here. I hoped to stay with Jorge but today he was faster than us and I arrived fourth. I’m quite happy about the first half of the season. I already got five podiums and four second places. I’m sad that I was not able to win, but I am quite fast and competitive. We have to continue like this and try to beat Marquez.”
“It was a crazy race with a chaotic start. In the warm up lap we saw that the track was drying quickly so I decided to enter the pit and change bike from wet-set up to dry. The start from the pit lane was a sort of “motocross style” and I enjoyed the race, but I made a mistake choosing the softer compound we have for the front. In two laps the track was completely dry and in the second part of the race I struggled a lot because the front tyre dropped. It’s a pity because I had the pace to fight with Jorge and Valentino. Anyway I’m satisfied with today’s result and happy to leave Germany with the 6th place in the Championship. Now I will enjoy some holidays at the seaside to recharge the batteries for a strong second part of the season”.
“Just before the race it started to rain and after two sightseeing laps on wet rubber, we decided to change to slick tyres on the grid because I thought that the track would have dried up quickly. At the first moment it seemed that we had an advantage but on the grid we had some issues in changing the front fork to dry as the time was not enough. So I started the race with rain setting and slick tyres and it was a real gamble. When I saw the others starting from the pit, I could have done the same as my bike was ready and I am sorry for this mistake. I was 3 seconds slower in the lap because my setting was not correct. I am speechless right now because this is the worst way to end my home race but I want to thank my fans for their great support throughout this weekend”.
“I can’t help but be a bit frustrated as the weather once again obstructed our weekend’s work. The rain just before the start again put us in a tricky situation and when we started from pit lane I had Dovizioso in front of me who had an apparent problem, I think he left his pit lane limiter on so I lost precious time and positions straight away. Due to my lack of experience with the bike in slightly wet conditions I was very cautious during the opening laps and it took me a bit of time to find the right rhythm. Also, the track lacks overtaking opportunities due to it’s nature and so this didn’t help also. It’s a real pity as my pace would have allowed us to battle for a top five result but luck was not on our side. Nevertheless, I learnt a lot today and after a few weeks off, we will be back even stronger for the start of the second half of the season at Indy.”
“Today was a big disappointment for me as I was feeling good and knew that I was capable of a strong result here but in the end the crash was all my fault. I made the same call as everyone else to pit and swap bikes, which was the right decision. When the race got underway, I saw Valentino pass Di Meglio at turn one and I knew my race pace was more than good enough to follow Valentino and use him as a reference in these tricky conditions. I got up the inside of Di Meglio and overtook him but as he came back to the apex, I ran onto the inside of the curb, which was still damp, and fell. Of course, it’s a big frustration as the bike, tyres and setting all felt positive. Also, my race pace was equivalent to the 5th or 6th placed times again so a good result was certainly on the cards but unfortunately luck was against me. Now I will rest up over the summer and come back more determined to succeed.”
“The start from the pit lane affected our whole race: we went to the grid with the bike for wet conditions and during the warm-up lap I preferred to stay behind the other riders to see what they decided to do, because in some places the track was still very wet. When I saw almost all the riders enter the pits to change the bike I did the same, but then when we lined up at the exit of the pit lane there was no space to stay ahead and are therefore I had a poor start. However, I started to overtake some riders, although it’s not easy on this track, and then I managed to keep a good pace. Let’s say that I enjoyed to overtake many riders, even if I’d preferred to do it for a better position… Too bad for the start, which as mentioned before penalized us a lot. I also think that many riders starting the race from the pit lane was a potentially dangerous situation, although luckily in the end nothing happened. Now we have a couple of weeks to rest, and then we will resume fighting: we hope to be more consistent in the second half of the season”.
“Today was good for me. I didn’t think I was going to catch the other Honda riders who started the race with slick tyres, I just thought that I had to beat Nicky, who started from the pit lane like me. When we left the pit lane I started to push and I was quite fast, also compared to the Factory bikes; I took a lot of risks in the wet parts of the track, because I had to, you know… I was feeling quite comfortable and I was reasonably strong also when the soft tyre started to drop. Even when Pol Espargaro passed me I stayed with him for 2 or 3 laps, and also with Alvaro. I’m happy because I gave everything today”.
“It was a difficult race in which unfortunately we were unable to make the best of the situation. I made a mistake at the start, forgetting to switch off the speed limiter at the end of the pit lane, and so I lost several places, which immediately complicated everything. I began to recover, but the battle with Aleix EspargarÃ² slowed me even more and I also went off line on the wet part of the track, losing a few more seconds. Unfortunately I was not able to keep up a very fast pace, and it’s a pity because we could have brought home a better result in these conditions. But, still being fourth in the championship after the first half of the season is in any case really positive.”
“It was mayhem at the start, and in the pit lane I nearly got knocked off by Rossi but it was nobody’s fault, just one of those incidents, and in fact the start of the race was really exciting! In any case we chose the wrong front tyre for sure: we should have gone with the harder one, but this is racing. The positives to take from the weekend are that we were more competitive in the race than in qualifying or practice and I made sure that we finished today. I was really disappointed in the last laps when I got passed by Pol EspargarÃ², Andrea and Bautista: I felt we had a good chance to finish in the seventh position but I couldn’t fight any more than I did and we were at the limit with the package today in these conditions.”
“I am very glad I got my best result in MotoGP. At the start of the race the track conditions were not very good because when we started turn Twelve was very wet and with the slick tire it was difficult to deal with. I pushed as much as possible at the beginning to not be too far from Lorenzo and Valentino, this strategy payed us off with this excellent result. I’m happy with my first half of the season, I could have picked up a few more points in the race where I crashed, since last year I improved a lot. “
“I’m not satisfied with my result, I struggled a lot in the race. Since this morning I could not find the feeling with the bike. In the race I could not be more fast and the track conditions did not help. I am sorry was not able to reach my goal. Now for the summer break I want to train hard to be ready when I get back on track in indianapolis. “
“It was a difficult race. I was among the few riders to start on slick tyres from the grid, but lap after lap I was loosing positions as I lacked confidence. In the second part of the race the feeling improved and I could push more. Now I will enjoy some holidays and the next appointment will be Indianapolis, the second US round in the calendar this year”.
MotoGP Sachsenring MotoGP 2014 results
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 41’47.664
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 1.466
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 10.317
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 19.194
5. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing + 23.509
6. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 27.809
7. Pol EspargarÃ² (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 33.253
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 33.868
9. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 34.231
10. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team + 34.676
11. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 37.744
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar + 45.018
13. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing + 45.177
14. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar + 46.676
15. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Iodaracing Team + 52.769
16. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP + 53.889
17. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing + 54.476
18. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing + 56.215
19. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 56.293
20. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 1’04.083
21. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport + 1’10.928
22. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing + 1’19.975
23. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport Not classified (13 laps)
MotoGP Championship standings post Sachsenring
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 225
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 148
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 141
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 99
5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 97
6. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 77
7. Pol EspargarÃ² (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 67
8. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing 62
9. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 56
10. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 50
11. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 48
12. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 34
13. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar 28
14. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team 28
15. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar 28
16. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 27
17. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 18
18. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 8
19. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati Team 7
20. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport 6
21. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Iodaracing Team 4
22. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 2