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Aussie watch ahead of the 2024 German MotoGP™

Matt Clayton
Thursday, 4 July 2024

Left, left and left again; it’s not NASCAR but the Sachsenring, home to round nine of the MotoGP™ season – and a place where Marc Marquez and Jack Miller arrive with good memories ahead of the final race before the break.

And here we are, the weekend where we get the unequivocal answer to one of the questions of MotoGP™ in 2024 – is Marc Marquez back, or is he B-A-C-K back?

The six-time premier-class champion has made the Sachsenring, home to this weekend’s German Motorcycle Grand Prix (July 5-7), his personal playground over a remarkable decade-long run of dominance. It’s also a place where he’s raced just once in the past four years because of a pandemic, injury absences and the nadir of his last season at Honda, where he withdrew after five crashes across three days.

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Even in that one race, in 2021 with one-and-a-half working arms, he won; Marquez has tasted victory in his past 11 races at a track that suits his riding style like no other. Fully fit and on a Ducati, you’d be brave to bet against him this weekend, no matter how good Pecco Bagnaia has looked in winning the past three Grands Prix in Catalunya, Mugello and Assen. 

Sachsenring – with its unique layout of one left corner after another before the brilliant Ralf Waldmann Corner at Turn 11, the “waterfall” where the bikes flick right at 275km/h and descend 21 metres in elevation in less than 250m of track – always throws up interesting racing, while five Aussie riders across all three classes have points to prove as well as earn before the three-week summer break.

Five Aussies, we hear you say? Yes, that’s right – Remy Gardner, who we last saw in MotoGP™ in 2022 for KTM, will deputise for the injured Alex Rins this weekend at the factory Yamaha team, after the Spaniard fractured his right hand and left leg in a crash at last weekend’s Dutch TT. Gardner has been riding – and well – for Yamaha in World Superbikes, and scored a point for 15th in his one world championship premier-class start at the Sachsenring two years ago.

We’re all wishing Remy well – and here’s what else we’re watching.

Miller’s full circle calendar moment

MotoGP’s annual visit to the Sachsenring makes Jack Miller nostalgic about his past, as well it might; it was in Germany in 2011 where a 16-year-old Miller started to make his mark in Europe, winning the IDM 125cc title and getting his world championship debut the next season as a consequence, and racing in the 2011 German GP as a wildcard Aprilia rider in a field that included Johann Zarco, Maverick Vinales and Miguel Oliveira.

Miller returns to the Sachsenring with, finally, something to build upon after snapping a four-race skid of scoreless Sundays with 11th at Assen; such is the pace of MotoGP™ this season that Miller’s race time (40min 31.218secs) would have won the GP in the Netherlands 12 months ago.

The 29-year-old’s form at the Sachsenring is strong, particularly on Saturdays where he’s qualified on the front two rows on his past four visits. Last year, he was third in the Sprint and sixth in the main race; it’s hard to see KTM repeating that given the dominance and depth of Ducati, but Miller should be optimistic of a stronger showing than the rest of his 2024 suggests.


Agius accepting the challenge

Just eight rounds into his first full-time Moto2™ season, Senna Agius keeps raising the bar. The 19-year-old is at an age and experience disadvantage compared to most of the rest of the intermediate-class grid, but keeps turning heads with his methodical improvement and mature attitude. 

A Q2 berth and 11th-place finish at Assen last Sunday was the latest example, and the right people are noticing; Agius has out-scored Luqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP teammate and former MotoGP™ rider Darryn Binder 21-6 so far, a sign things are trending in the right direction. 

In Moto3™, Australian pair Joel Kelso and Jacob Roulstone will be keen to bounce back after muted weekends at Assen. 

Kelso in particular will be looking to return to where he was; after finishing the first four races of the season in the top 10, the BOE Motorsports rider hasn’t been better than 12th in the four since. Roulstone had a rare quiet outing in an otherwise promising rookie season in the Netherlands, the Tech3 GasGas rider missing Q2 and scraping in for two points by finishing 14th. 


‘Diggia’ the low-key standout of 2024 

There’s several candidates for unheralded star of the season, but none have a better claim to the tag than Fabio Di Giannantonio, the VR46 Ducati rider who is keeping quality company pretty regularly these days. ‘Diggia’ was fourth in Assen last Sunday, and has finished in the top seven for six straight races to sit eighth in the MotoGP™ standings. 

Yes, the Ducati is a quality bike – the Italian marque has locked out the podium for the past five Grands Prix – but the 25-year-old is campaigning a year-old Desmosedici this season, and demolishing highly-rated teammate Marco Bezzecchi with it. 

While Bezzecchi – winner of three Grands Prix last year when he finished third in the championship – has secured an Aprilia works deal for 2025, Di Giannantonio has out-scored ‘Bez’ 92-45 and out-qualified him 6-2 so far, explaining why he’s being so carefully considered for a full-factory Yamaha with the new Pramac set-up for next year. 

German MotoGP™ fast facts
Circuit name/location: Sachsenring, Chemnitz, Germany
Length/laps: 3.67km, 30 laps (MotoGP™), 25 laps (Moto2™), 23 laps (Moto3™)
Grands Prix held/debut: 25, 1998
Most successful rider: Marc Marquez (eight wins)
2023 podium 1st: Jorge Martin (Ducati), 2nd: Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati), 3rd: Johann Zarco (Ducati)

The 2024 German Motorcycle Grand Prix will be available to watch live on Foxtel and Kayo. See our What time does the 2024 German MotoGP™ start for Australians? article for timings.