HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, Germany – Marc Marquez won the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, picking up his second MotoGP victory as well as the MotoGP championship lead Sunday at the Sachsenring.
In the absence of both Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, the same three riders were on the podium as at the Dutch TT, with Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi second and third.
The Sachsenring delivered another highly dramatic weekend, not least as numerous riders have suffered crashes. Crutchlow was one of them, heading into the race with injuries to his arms, hands and left leg, but heavy impacts for World Champion Lorenzo and erstwhile championship leader Pedrosa left both on the sidelines; the Yamaha Factory Racing rider bent the titanium plate in his shoulder, while the Repsol Honda Team rider sustained a small fracture, also to the left collarbone.
With both of his major rivals out of contention, Marquez – starting on his third pole position of the season – knew that a second race win (after Austin, Texas) would allow him to snatch back the advantage in the title race. A poor start saw the 20-year-old rookie drop to fourth place, but he picked off those ahead of him one by one and took the lead from home rider Stefan Bradl at the end of the sixth lap. Once Crutchlow took second, the Spaniard would manage the gap and win by 1.5 seconds.
Crutchlow’s own race started from second. Fighting the pain of his injuries after two large accidents on Friday, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider dispatched of Alvaro Bautista and Bradl before stealing second from Valentino Rossi in a strong move at Sachsen Kurve on lap 16. He then looked to threaten for a career-first victory, but Marquez had been looking after his tyres and was able to comfortably control the gap until the end of the 30th and final lap; nevertheless, Crutchlow becomes the first British rider since Barry Sheene in 1982 to collect four podium finishes in one season.
Having returned to winning ways at Assen, Rossi has now claimed consecutive rostrum placings. From his first front row start since the Portuguese Grand Prix of 2010, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider seized the lead as the red lights went out. He proceeded to battle with local favourite Bradl but was overhauled by eventual winner Marquez on lap five. Three laps later, Rossi passed Bradl to go second, but then fell back to the final podium spot when Crutchlow steamed ahead.