Just as in Assen a fortnight ago, MotoGP was hit by changeable weather conditions at the Sachsenring in Germany this weekend. And just as in Assen a fortnight ago, it was Marc Marquez who raced through the confusion to take a record ninth consecutive victory from nine races thus far in 2014.
Rain hit the circuit half an hour before the start lights were due to go out, but it eased as the riders took to the grid and left them with the quandary of whether to select wet or dry tyres for the start of the race. In the event, it was Stefan Bradl who elected to swap his wet tyres for slicks on the grid, while those around him – including polesitter Marquez – took the wets. On the parade lap it became painfully obvious Bradl was right while his rivals had made a bad choice. They all took to the pitlane and gathered by the exit on their dry weather bikes, while Bradl was left marooned at the head of the grid with a handful of riders near the tail end of the field electing to risk the wets in the hope of further rain to come.
The early advantage this offered the German soon evaporated as it became clear his was a wet weather bike, merely ‘adapted’ to suit drier conditions. Within ten laps Marquez and Pedrosa, ruthlessly carving through the order, had got their Repsol Honda’s into their near-customary 1-2 position, though Pedrosa was briefly baulked by Bradl in a scrape that would ultimately prove costly, for it put and end to his erstwhile charge toward the back of Marquez’s bike.
Behind them Yamaha team-mates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi also despatched Bradl to take 3rd and 4th places, while Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro dragged themselves into contention, holding 5th and 6th impressively to the flag. Bradl’s dreams of adding glory to Germany’s sporting weekend that culminates in the football World Cup final later tonight ended in crushing disappointment as he slid to 16th and out of the points before the chequered flag was thrown.
Bradley Smith crashed for the fifth time this weekend early on and never really recovered despite remounting his Tech 3 Yamaha, while Michael Laverty was the only other casualty when he crashed with thirteen laps remaining at the notorious ‘Waterfall’ turn eleven.
Otherwise, the race produced reasonable results for the other two Britons, with Cal Crutchlow finishing 10th after running as high as 7th and Scott Redding producing another measured performance for 11th, despite the mental pain of being mugged by Moto2 title nemesis Pol Espargaro a matter of laps from the end.
Marquez’s victory sends him into the summer break just one win away from equalling Giacomo Agostini’s 1970 record of ten wins from the first ten races, and also equals Mike Hailwood’s record of nine consecutive victories for the youngest rider in the premier class from 1964. He is 77 points clear of team-mate Pedrosa.
Copyright – DORNA