The Frenchman was unbeatable in the blistering heat as he took the win by over six seconds.
In what was expected to be a ‘race of survival’ by the riders, Fabio Quartararo excelled in all ways possible as he showed arguably his best performance of the season so far, or even his career. As soon as he took the lead from polesitter Aleix Espargaro on the first corner, his pace was unmatched, and he disappeared from the scene in no time. The podium was eventually battled out by Espargaro and the Pramac pair of Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco. While Zarco never made a move against either Spaniard, he never dropped back significantly and sat behind watching the pair battle for 2nd. The conclusion unfortunately came a lap too early, when Espargaro apparently miscalculated the laps and began celebrating as soon as he finished the penultimate lap. This allowed the Pramacs to fly past him and cruise to their podium finishes.
Espargaro lost three places in the process, finishing behind Joan Mir in 4th. It was a much-needed result for both Mir and Suzuki after the team had suffered from double retirements in the last two races. Espargaro briefly dropped to 6th behind Luca Marini on the final lap, when he realized his heart-wrenching blunder after seeing his rivals passing him flat out, and repassed Marini a few corners later. Marini’s strong form continues as he finished 6th a second consecutive time, a promising look for the young Italian as he struggled to break the top 10 early in the season. He finished just tenths ahead of Maverick Vinales, who took another solid finish for Aprilia.
Brad Binder took the top KTM honours once again in 8th, ahead of his teammate Miguel Oliveira who has finally looked more comfortable on his KTM after a miserable slump. The two battled in the first half of the race before an overtake attempt by Oliveira went wrong, where the Portuguese outbraked himself and ran wide in the first turn, losing momentum and dropping behind his teammate. Alex Marquez covered the top 10 as the top Honda, a solid result for the Spaniard as he fights to keep his place in MotoGP for the next season.
The rookie pair of Remy Gardner and Darryn Binder ran impressive races finishing 11th and 12th respectively, enjoying a battle towards the end of the race after repassing Jack Miller, who eventually dropped by 14th behind Franco Morbidelli. Another notable finish is Raul Fernandez in 15th, taking his first MotoGP points, meaning that all full-time riders have already scored points this season.
Ducati’s wildcard test rider Michele Pirro brought his bike home in 16th, beating Pol Espargaro in the final few laps. The younger Espargaro mysteriously endured a nightmare of a race, where after launching like a rocket at the start and running 5th, he found himself dropping like a stone lap after lap, eventually finishing last of the finishers in what would be another race to forget.
The race of survival already started with some chaos, as Taka Nakagami had completely misjudged his rivals’ braking into turn 1 and fell, taking Alex Rins and Francesco Bagnaia out in the process. He appeared to have hit his head on Bagnaia’s rear tyre after falling (which caused the Italian to crash) and had been taken to the hospital for further checks. It was a tough blow for Rins and Bagnaia who have both been desperate to keep their title hopes alive. It was also Rins’s fourth race in succession where he left without any points in the bag, while Bagnaia suffers his second retirement in three races. In an unrelated incident, Stefan Bradl also crashed out of the first lap in the final sector. The German was called up to replace Marc Marquez, who had a successful surgery on his right arm and is aiming for a full recovery before his racing return. Marco Bezzecchi crashed out of the 6th lap while running 13th, while the Gresini pair of Bastianini and DiGiannantonio crashed one lap within each other. Andrea Dovizioso was the eighth and last retiree, pulling his Yamaha back into the pits with a suspected technical issue.
Quartararo’s dominance gave himself a well-deserved extended title lead, which was as well aided by Espargaro’s crucial error on the final lap. With 147 points in his tally, he leads the Spaniard by 22 points. It seems to be a two horse race for the championship, as Quartararo and Espargaro’s incredible consistency has put them both far ahead in the standings. The next rider in the table is still Bastianini, this time sitting 21 points behind Espargaro as he has gained zero points once again from his second consecutive retirement. Johann Zarco’s podium moves him up to 4th overall with 91 points, just three adrift from Bastianini, while Bagnaia remains in the top five with 81 points.
The next race in Germany will be the penultimate race before the summer break. Marc Marquez’s absence means that it is the end of a 10-season streak where he has won the German Grand Prix, which started all the way from his 125cc season in 2010. This means that there will be a different winner in Sachsenring for the first time since 2012.
Stay tuned for the next race!