Masterful Marquez Wins Seventh Ring GP in Tricky Conditions
Credit: Honda Worldwide
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) achieved a historic result in today’s soaking German Grand Prix, scoring a unique seventh consecutive victory at the Sachsenring across three categories: 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP. To complete Honda’s joy in this most enthralling of races, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) finished a superb second to make it a Honda one-two.
- Marc Marquez
- Marc Marquez
Both Marquez and Crutchlow were delighted with their results. Marquez’s third win of the year doubled his championship lead at the halfway stage to 48 points over reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who could only manage a 15-place finish this afternoon. Meanwhile Crutchlow was ecstatic with his first podium since last year’s Argentine GP, just a few weeks before he and his wife Lucy are expecting their first child.
Marquez, who suffered a high-speed spill in morning warm-up, could hardly have achieved his 53rd career victory in more treacherous and challenging conditions. The race started on a soaking track but by half-distance a dry line appeared at certain parts of the circuit. Marquez was the first rider to enter the pits and change to a bike fitted with full slicks. This was a brave and risky decision because the track was still damp in many places, which made it very difficult to work enough heat into his slick tires.
But the 23-year-old’s spectacularly aggressive riding style soon had his slicks up to temperature and he became the fastest rider on track, catching the leading group, who were still using rain tires, at the rate of six seconds a lap! So his decision to change bikes turned out to be inspired, but it was anything but an easy decision when he took it.
Most of the leading group did finally enter the pits to change bikes and tires – some to intermediates, some to slicks (including Crutchlow) – which left Marquez with only one rider ahead of him: last month’s Dutch TT winner Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V). Marquez quickly swept past the Australian and was soon well ahead, while the battle for the runner-up finish waged between Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), who had led much of the earlier stages. The Briton pounced on the Italian at the final corner with two laps remaining and then established himself in second place.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) had high hopes of a great race after topping this morning’s rain-affected morning warm-up session. However, a challenging qualifying session had put the 30-year-old Spaniard tenth on the grid, so it wasn’t easy for him to fight his way through the pack. At one stage it seemed like he might have a shot at the podium but it didn’t quite work out like that and he ended the race in sixth place, a fraction ahead of Miller and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).
Former Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) made a good call when he changed tires and was aiming for a top-ten finish until he slid off.
Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex) scored a brilliant victory in the rain-soaked Moto2 race, fighting off an all-or-nothing attack from local-hero Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) at the final corner. Zarco’s winning advantage was just six hundredths of a seconds but the 25 points he won for his fourth success of the season are a huge bonus for the reigning champion and current World Championship leader.
The ninth race of the Moto2 campaign was most notable for the number of riders who fell victim to the treacherously slippery track, several of them sliding off and remounting, only to slide off again. Just 15 of the original 27starters finished the race.
The most significant faller was Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex) who had been equal on points with Zarco before this race, until he crashed out in the closing stages. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex), who had been just five points behind Zarco and Rins, fell twice.
Third finisher in the Honda-powered Moto2 race was Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up), who crossed the finish line 20 seconds down on Zarco for his first podium result since 2012.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), another class veteran, came home in fourth place ten seconds behind Simon and just over a second ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team Kalex), who rode a hero’s race after dislocating a shoulder in this morning’s warm-up session.
Rookie Luca Marini (Forward Team Kalex), Rossi’s half-brother, braved the conditions well to follow Baldassarri home in sixth place, his best Grand Prix result.
The top ten was completed by Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex), Jesko Raffin (Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex) and Isaac Vinales (Tech 3 Racing Tech3).
The first race of the day started in very wet conditions, with the Moto3 pack splashing its way through torrential rain. The 27-lap outing soon became a duel between team-mates Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) and Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), until Ono ran off the track in his efforts to keep up with the leader. He later crashed out.
That left rookie Pawi all alone, way ahead of the opposition. The 17-year-old from Perak, north of Kuala Lumpur, finally crossed the finish line 11 seconds ahead of Andrea Locatelli (KTM), with Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) making it two Hondas on the podium with a third-place finish, two seconds behind Locatelli.
This is Pawi’s second runaway win in wet conditions, following his dominant performance in April’s Argentine GP. The Malaysian youngster worked his way into Grand Prix racing through the Malaysian, Asian and European scenes. He has ridden Honda machinery throughout his career, from national ‘underbone’ racing, to the Asia Dream Cup and FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship.
Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) were fourth and fifth to make it four Hondas in the top five.
Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) rode a hero’s race, just weeks after breaking a leg in a training accident, fighting his way to a superb seventh-place finish, which means he took one point out of the points lead held by eighth-placed Brad Binder (KTM). Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) completed the top nine.
Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) was unable to race after breaking a collarbone during yesterday’s qualifying session.
The MotoGP circus now embarks on its summer break, reconvening in Austria at the Red Bull Ring over the weekend of August 13/13/14.
- Cal Crutchlow
- Cal Crutchlow
Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes
- Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st
- “At a certain point today, I thought my run at this circuit was going to come to an end, but in the end we succeeded and earned a very good result, especially considering how Valentino and Jorge finished the race. I’m very happy with how we worked with the team today: they did a great job preparing my bike after my crash in the warm-up, and then in the race our strategy proved to be perfect. It was a very difficult race, with it being flag-to-flag and the track conditions so delicate. In the first part of the race, in the wet, I found things a little difficult. I had picked the wrong front tire for my riding style, but I was able to switch to slicks. I was very careful in the opening laps after changing bikes, because the dry line was very narrow and there was still a lot of water on the surface. It’s always very difficult to decide when to change bikes, and perhaps we made our switch very early but I decided to take a chance and it went well. We end the first half of the season with our homework done and off the back of a good race, but we must not forget to prepare well for the second half of the year.”
- Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 2nd
- “I nearly crashed on the warm-up lap because I couldn’t get heat into the tire, so in the first few laps the situation was really difficult to manage. When I was chasing Rossi and Dovizioso I just followed what they were doing because they’re both so experienced, so when they went into the pits, so did I. The team did a great job and I’m very happy with the result. This is only the second race in nine years that my wife Lucy hasn’t been at because she’s at home with a baby in her tummy. I can wait to get home and look forward to the birth before the next race in Austria.”
- Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda:6th
- “I wasn’t feeling super-strong in the wet today, not like in this morning’s warm-up. I had chosen the super-soft front tire and I didn’t expect the track to dry so quickly. I tried to keep a constant pace and not make mistakes. Unfortunately, when I made the swap my feeling in the dry wasn’t the best until I got some temperature in the tires, but at least I managed to make a few passes and finish sixth. I would have liked to do better, but we must to stay focused and prepare for the coming races.”
- Jack Miller, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 7th
- “It was a really good race and I can be happy with the result. But in all honesty I should have trusted my team more and come in earlier for the bike change. It’s a real shame I stayed out a little bit too long because I am sure I could have been standing on the podium again. It was a tough call to make and there was about seven laps to go and I kept thinking about finishing the race on the wet tires. It was frustrating to see everybody come flying by me and I knew I had to come in and change. As soon as I went back out on slicks I just said ‘why didn’t I do this earlier?’ It was a big lesson for me to take on board but it was my first real flag-to-flag race and it is good experience for me. I still had a lot of fun racing at the front with the likes of Valentino and I nearly passed Dani on the last lap to take the top six. When I was out on the slicks at the end my pace was really competitive and that gives me a big boost of confidence for the future.”
- Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 16th
- “I am very disappointed with the outcome of today’s race. It was very difficult in the full wet conditions but I think I came in and changed bikes at the right time when the track was drying very quickly. I was pushing to try and fight inside the top 10 because today was a good opportunity to do that but unfortunately I crashed at the final corner. The fortunate thing is I escaped injury and now I can look forward to training hard in the summer and coming back strong at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.”
Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes
- Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport: 1st
- “My target was to stay on two wheels, not to crash and if I had a good enough feeling to try and win. But it was so difficult because sometimes it was raining and sometimes it stopped. When I found more confidence I pushed harder and then I nearly crashed twice. Towards the end the feeling did get better, so I was just trying to control the grip. At the end I knew Rins had crashed but I was still motivated and focused on winning the race. Jonas rode a great last lap and caught me at the last corner, but I had a better line on the exit so I had better acceleration and could catch the victory. My thanks to the team because we are fast in the dry and the wet.”
- Jonas Folger, Dynavolt Intact GP: 2nd
- “I was really motivated to win, especially after we were so strong in the wet warm-up session, so I knew we could have a good race. But in the race it was difficult to find the pace when there were so many crashes, so I tried to keep my energy and then start taking some risks. When I saw Johann ahead I kept pushing till I could attack at the last corner. I tried to keep a tight line on the exit and I thought I would win – but then he passed me! Anyway, I’m happy with this podium, especially at home.”
- Julian Simon, QMMF Racing Team: 3rd
- “It’s been such a long time since I was on the podium. It was such a tricky race with so many riders falling down, so I tried to stay relaxed, then step by step start pushing and then passing riders. I was already in a good position when Franco Morbidelli and Alex Rins crashed in front of me, so for the last few laps I was telling myself to stay on two wheels and finish on the podium. It’s been so long that this has been a very emotional day.”
Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes
- Khairul Idham Pawi, Honda Team Asia: 1st
- “It was a difficult race because I started from the seventh row of the grid. I wasn’t even thinking about finishing on the podium, but just to score some points because I had crashed out of three of the recent races, so I knew I must finish this race. There were many crashes from other riders so I told myself to cool down and then I started to push. My thanks for everyone for their support: my team, family and fans.”
- Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing Moto3: 3rd
- “It’s been a very nice race, although definitely not easy! In the early laps I immediately found a good feeling with the bike and I enjoyed it, but then later, midway through the race, the rain intensified I started to struggle. The rear wheel was sliding a lot and I took several risks, almost at every lap! Then in the end there was less water on the track, and considering that some riders were pressing me behind my back and I wanted the podium at all costs, I decided to push harder: I found once again a good feeling doing some good laps which helped to maintain the third position with no worries. I’m satisfied because this is my first podium in the wet and it’s certainly a novelty, because in the rain I had never been so strong so far.”
- Jakub Kornfeil, Drive M7 SIC Racing Team: 4th
- “The race today was very tough. It was so slippery for the first few laps and the conditions were incredibly difficult to race in. The bike was sliding everywhere; especially corners number seven and eight and then in turn 12 because of the angle, the bike was just aquaplaning. I was trying to stay as focused as possible, but for 27 laps in the wet, it’s not so easy. Starting from 15th it took me some time to catch the leading group. I kept pushing but at the same time you cannot push over the limit in these conditions. In the last ten laps I could see fourth and third place in front of me so I just started to push harder little by little to catch them.”
- Dani Pedrosa
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|4||Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)|
|5||Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)|
|6||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|7||Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|8||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|9||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|11||Eugene LAVERTY (Pull & Bear Aspar Team)|
|12||Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|13||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|14||Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|15||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|1||Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)|
|2||Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|3||Julian SIMON (QMMF Racing Team)|
|4||Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|5||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Team)|
|6||Luca MARINI (Forward Team)|
|7||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)|
|8||Jesko RAFFIN (Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG)|
|9||Isaac VIÑALES (Tech 3 Racing)|
|10||Dominique AEGERTER (CarXpert Interwetten)|
|11||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|12||Remy GARDNER (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|13||Robin MULHAUSER (CarXpert Interwetten)|
|14||Edgar PONS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)|
|15||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|1||Khairul Idham PAWI (Honda Team Asia)|
|2||Andrea LOCATELLI (Leopard Racing)|
|3||Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Moto3)|
|4||Jakub KORNFEIL (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team)|
|5||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Gresini Racing Moto3)|
|6||John MCPHEE (Peugeot MC Saxoprint)|
|7||Jorge NAVARRO (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|8||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|9||Jules DANILO (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|10||Francesco BAGNAIA (Pull & Bear ASPAR Mahindra Team)|
|11||Tatsuki SUZUKI (CIP-Unicom Starker)|
|12||Bo BENDSNEYDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|13||Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA Racing Team)|
|14||Livio LOI (RW Racing GP BV)|
|15||Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|