336 days after suffering a career threatning injury at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto Circuit, nearly a year ago, Marc Márquez returned to winning ways in MotoGP. The Repsol Honda Team rider took his 11 consecutive victory at the Sachsenring: One in 125cc, 2 in Moto2 and 8 in the premier class. The ‘King of the Ring’ with all that has happened over the past year had his emotions out there for all to see for the first time in his career.
Márquez started the German Grand Prix race from fifth on the grid and, after getting a great start, took the lead on the first lap. On Lap 4, rain began to fall, and the Spaniard was able to take advantage of the uncertainty to pull further away from the chasing pack. Márquez maintained a very consistent pace, and stayed a second ahead of eventual runner-up Miguel Oliveira every step of the way.
With 20 laps to go, and the specter of rainfall looming, Oliveira cut through to 3rd and then to 2nd place and gave chase to serial Sachsenring winner Marc Marquez. The gap between the pair fluctuated over-and-under one second. The Portuguese was able to make gains but not arrive close enough to make a challenge for the lead. At the checkered flag Oliveira – who had set the fastest lap – was less than two seconds adrift of Marquez. Oliveira was able to bank 20 world championship points for his fifth podium walk in his MotoGP career.
Launching from his sixth-consecutive front row start, Quartararo momentarily took the lead on the run in to turn one but lost a handful of positions in the opening twists and turns of the lap, dropping the Frenchman to fourth at the end of the opening lap. Sandwiched between two Ducatis, the six-time MotoGP race-winner slipped to sixth place by the end of the fourth lap, however, the 22-year-old was saving his hard-medium tyres for a mid-race charge.
As spots of rain reappeared at the German circuit on lap nine, Quartararo muscled his way past compatriot Johann Zarco before making two identical manoeuvres at turn 12, promoting the Yamaha rider to third. It was important for ‘El Diablo’ to keep his concentration as the tyres started dropping off, which he did perfectly, eventually crossing the line in third place, 6.772 seconds behind the race winner.
Márquez is tenth in the MotoGP World Championship with 41 points, whilst Espargaró is twelfth with 35. The Repsol Honda Team duo now move on to the Dutch TT, which takes place this coming weekend at Assen.
“This is one of the most important, and hardest, moments of my career. Today I knew there was a great opportunity to do something. When I crossed the line I just enjoyed it and then arriving with my whole team there, emotional, it helps a lot after such a difficult situation. It’s impossible to come back alone, you need people, you need a good team, a good team of doctors, a physio, Honda, Honda respect me a lot. Alberto Puig, Emilio Alzamora, my family, they helped me a lot. Now it’s time to enjoy this weekend, we were looking for a Repsol petrol station but now we found one and the fuel tank is full again. It’s extra motivation for me, for Honda, for the engineers, for the team and let’s see what the future brings. When I saw some drops of rain on lap four of five, I said; it’s my race. I started pushing at this point and then when it started to rain harder, I pushed even more and then the second race with Oliveira began. He pushed so hard and was very fast, it was hard to keep concentrated because all the memories, everything I have lived over the last year, came into my mind. But we did it. We will do it again.”
“It was a little bit cat-and-mouse today. Marc was faster in some sectors and I was faster in the last part of the track. Visually though. I felt like I was gaining nothing! It was an interesting race and we battled at a distance. I will take a second any day at the Sachsenring to him. I’m happy to continue this run of podiums. I hope we can carry on this way. Thanks to the team, and everyone at home for their support.”
“I‘m happy with this podium. Honestly, it’s like gold. We‘ve been struggling all week. We were quite clear about this in our team. This morning we saw that our pace was good, but not good enough for the victory. That’s why I feel that this podium is really like gold, because I fought until the very end. I gave it my all, and I think that‘s so important for the team because we have been struggling so much. This GP was so tough for us. Now I‘m just looking forward to Assen, one of my favourite tracks. The bike will be fantastic there, so I can‘t wait for Friday because we will enjoy it a lot.”