The Frenchman becomes the first different winner in Saxony since Dani Pedrosa in 2012.
With the absence of the ‘King of The Ring’ Marc Marquez, it ultimately meant the end of his 11-year dominance in Sachsenring, having won every race he started there since 2010, and since 2013 in the MotoGP category. Today the honours went to Fabio Quartararo, who took his third win of the season and Yamaha’s first in the track since Valentino Rossi in 2009. It was another dominant display from the Frenchman, who looked untouchable from the moment he took the lead on the first corner, as he went on to build up a gap of 4.9 seconds ahead of his compatriot Johann Zarco in 2nd
The race began with Francesco Bagnaia on pole, but it was Quartararo who launched quicker from 2nd as he immediately took the lead by the first turn. Aleix Espargaro made up a place as well to take 3rd from Johann Zarco, before the Frenchman made an incredibly bold overtake at the fast right-handed ‘waterfall’ corner to retake the spot from Espargaro on the third lap. On the start of the next lap, Bagnaia lost the rear in the first turn, crashing out of the race and further damaging his title hopes against Quartararo. Coincidentally, Joan Mir crashed out seconds later just meters behind Bagnaia. Zarco inherited 2nd and maintained his 1-second interval on Quartararo until the latter began pulling away bit-by-bit around the halfway mark.
The final podium place was challenged by the Aprilia pair for a while, with Espargaro fending off a charging Vinales, who has looked faster than ever on the RS-GP. Sadly, was ultimately short-lived as Vinales ended up suffering from a faulty rear ride height device which forced him to retire. Jack Miller, who served a long lap penalty early in the race, managed to catch up to the pair and eventually challenged Espargaro for 3rd. Despite a couple of attempts in Turn 1 where he ran wide both times, he managed to find a way past anyway after Espargaro ran himself wide in the same corner shortly after.
In dominant fashion once again, Quartararo took the victory by 4.9 seconds as Zarco makes it another French 1-2, looking to be Ducati’s most consistent rider right now. Sealing the podium is Jack Miller, a stunning comeback after having to serve a long lap penalty. It was a redeeming performance by the Aussie after his last two races saw him only scoring a total of three points, as well as having to face Ducati’s decision to drop him at the end of the season.
Aleix Espargaro finished a solid 4th, after struggling with rear grip for most of the race. Finishing close behind was a charging Luca Marini, who has shown significant improvement throughout the season, with his last two races also being top six finishes. Jorge Martin finished 6th, and Brad Binder took the top KTM result yet again, an impressive ride to 7th as the Austrian camp still struggles to close their gap to the front, beating Fabio DiGiannantonio by a few tenths. It was another monumental weekend for the rookie, who qualified 5th and maintained the position for a majority of the race, beating his more experienced teammate Enea Bastianini in 10th. Sandwiched between the Gresinis in 9th is Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese rode a fairly good race once again, pacing close to his teammate as he looks to convince other teams that he’s deserving of a seat in 2023, following the announcement of his departure from KTM as Jack Miller was signed to replace him.
Marco Bezzecchi finished 11th, a solid result to bring home for the VR46 rookie after crashing out of the last race. Raul Fernandez meanwhile finished an impressive 12th, a breath of fresh air for the fellow rookie as he struggled to get to grips with his KTM for most of the season, having only scored his first point in the last race. Franco Morbidelli brings some points home once again on his road to recovery, finishing 13th after battling with Andrea Dovizioso who finished behind him, as well as Remy Gardner who claimed the final point.
The final finisher of the day is Stefan Bradl, who finished a distant 16th out of the points, stepping in for the injured Marc Marquez in the Repsol Honda. It was a bitter result for the German at home, as well as Honda given that this was their top and only finish of the race. Honda’s poor season has only gone worse as they walk away from the weekend with no points. Taka Nakagami crashed out of the top ten while Alex Marquez retired with suspected technical issues, and Pol Espargaro later followed after experiencing pain on his right foot. Aside from the three Hondas, Bagnaia and Mir, Darryn Binder was the only other retiree after crashing out on the 6th lap. Alex Rins withdrew from the weekend after the third practice, suffering from his hand injuries sustained in Catalunya.
Quartararo’s victory extends his championship lead to 172 points, where he now sits 34 points ahead of Aleix Espargaro who has 138 points on his tally. Zarco’s increasingly great form has moved him up to 3rd with 111 points, ahead of Enea Bastianini who is 11 points adrift. Brad Binder seals the top five with 82 points, just one ahead of the Ducati pair of Bagnaia and Miller.
The next race in Assen is the last race before the long summer break, home to what has usually shown the most exciting races of the season. However, given Quartararo’s current form and his successful history on the track, it also would not be a surprise to see him repeat his success there, having won last year’s event comfortably as well as setting the fastest lap. Stay tuned for the next race!
Featured Image – motogp.com, Dorna Sports