Just as Casey Stoner was unbeatable at Phillip Island, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) has a similar spell at Sachsenring, and it continued overnight as he won his sixth grand prix in a row at the German circuit — and his third in succession in the premier MotoGP class.
After dispensing with early leader Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha), Marquez simply pulled away with ease — from Lorenzo at first before Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) took turns in second position.
But by the time Pedrosa had moved into second, all the damage had been done by Marquez, who eventually eased up to defeat his teammate by 2.226s in the 30-lapper, followed by Rossi, Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone (Ducati) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3). Australia's Jack Miller (CWM LCR Honda) scored points for the fourth time this year in being the first Open class rider home, five seconds clear of Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP).
It may have been a processional race, but Marquez delivered another emphatic warning to Rossi and co that although he's at long odds to make it three world titles in a row, he'll have a big say in who's crowed at Valencia on November 8.
"I am very happy with this victory; I've been chasing it hard over the last few races," said Marquez. "In Barcelona I felt good on the bike again thanks to the changes we made. We have confirmed that they worked here at this circuit, but I want to be cautious because I am aware that this circuit has always been very good for me and also for the Honda.
"We have to keep working, because on the laps that I did behind Lorenzo I saw that in some aspects where they were stronger than us. Let's see if we can continue improving at the Misano test next week."
Marquez broke Pedrosa's four-year-old lap record at Sachsenring, but Pedrosa wasn't fussed: he still put in his most complete performance of the year and he will also be heavily involved in the permutations of crowning the 2015 world champion.
"I’m so happy — above all with how we finished the race as I rode very strongly," said Pedrosa. "I was under a lot of pressure from Valentino and, although it had been a while since I had last fought with him and he is very difficult to beat, I gave my all and was able to finish ahead of him. I rode much better at the end and it is the first race this season in which I kept up a good pace until the finish."
Rossi maintained his 100 percent podium finishing record at Sachsenring, as well as extending his title lead out to 13pts (179 to 166) over Lorenzo. Iannone (118) remains in third from a rapidly closing Marquez (114), followed by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati, 87), Smith (87) and Pedrosa (67). Dovizioso crashed at Sachsenring as his mid-season woes continued.
Miller was delighted with his pace for the first 20 laps before he started to suffer from wheel spin. He said: "I had a really big moment when the bike went sideways. That allowed Hector (Barbera) and Alvaro (Bautista) back through and it was hard to sit behind them as I was quicker than them through the corners, but they were able to get on the gas on the straights and make a big break.
“I really pushed hard behind them, but then I had a couple of moments and just thought I should take no risks and accept the one point we had. Nicky (Hayden) was about six seconds behind me so we could relax and take the last three laps a little bit easier.
“We are definitely improving each week. We’ve had some good results and some bad results, today could have been a really good result but it wasn’t to be. Anyway, I’m quite happy with my first half-season in MotoGP, it’s been difficult but it’s also been a lot of fun.”
1. Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, 41m01.087s
2. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, +2.226s
3. Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha, +5.608s
15. Jack Miller, CWM LCR Honda, +53.769
Pole position: Marquez, 1:20.336 = 164.5km/h
Fastest lap and new record: Marquez, 1:21.530 = 162km/h
Championship top 3
Rossi 179 • Jorge Lorenzo 166 • Andrea Iannone 118
It's a rare thing in MotoGP these days: first-time race winners. But not in the Moto2 and Moto3 ranks, and in the former it was Belgian Xavier Simeon Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who made the big breakthrough at Sachsenring, in race that finished in dramatic circumstances when world champion Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was taken out by the sliding machine of Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) in the battle for third place.
Rabat's DNF allowed Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) to extend his championship lead out to a whopping 65pts, but all the attention was on Simeon, who's now a race winner after six seasons in Moto2.
“I’m very happy, it's an amazing feeling! Yesterday, in qualifying, we were already very fast and we knew we could have a good race today; the only question mark was related to which tyre to use, because both specs were very similar," said Simeon. "We made the choice at the last moment, on the grid, and it proved to be the right one. Even in the final stages of the race my bike was very fast, and I was able to push at the maximum."
Polesitter Zarco finished in second after leading for most of the race, while Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) was gifted third place after the Morbidelli/Rabat imbroglio. Simone Corsi (Athiná Forward Racing) finished in fourth place, ahead of Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing) and Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten). Australia's Anthony West (QMMF Racing) crashed out.
1. Xavier Simeon, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2, 41m09.295s
2. Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport, +0.083s
3. Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP40, +1.646s
DNF. Anthony West, QMMF Racing, +25 laps
Pole Position: Johann Zarco, 1:24.044 = 157.2km/h
Fastest lap and new record: Franco Morbidelli, 1:24.538 = 156.3km/h
Championship top 3
Zarco 179 • Tito Rabat 114 • Sam Lowes 107
Germany was all about Danny Kent (Leopard Racing), with no-one able to match his pace all weekend. After topping all the timesheets in practice and qualifying he then marched to his fifth win of the season, nearly eight seconds ahead of teammate Efren Vazquez, who in turn got the better of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team Moto3).
Despite the runaway win, Kent said it wasn't easy to keep his mind on the job.
“Through all these corners and of course the long distance with 27 laps it wasn't easy to stay focused, especially when riding alone at the front," he said. "But in the end I managed it well so thanks to that I was able to extend our championship lead further.
"I’m very happy how things went through the first part of the season to be able to perform consistently that strong, so now I look forward to some relaxed weeks with a fine championship lead."
Kent is the first British rider to win a lightweight class (125cc/Moto3) GP at Sachsenring since 1969. He’s also the first Honda rider to win a lightweight class GP in Germany since Marco Melandri won in 1999.
Niccolò Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) finished in fifth place, behind Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) who was denied the podium in a last lap battle with Bastianini that came down to a photo finish.
Remy Gardner (CIP Mahindra) finished in 23rd position.
“During the opening laps I was in the middle of a slower group," the Aussie teenager said. "After that it was impossible to catch the riders in front of me. Definitely practice went better than the race but I feel that I’m progressing and learning at every race. That is the main goal."
1. Danny Kent, Leopard Racing, 37m54.427s
2. Efren Vazquez, Leopard Racing, +7.554s
3. Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing Team Moto3, +9.603s
23. Remy Gardner, CIP, +46.840s
Pole Position: Danny Kent, 1:26.420 = 152.9km/h
Fastest lap and new record: Kent, 1:26.916 = 152km/h
Championship top 3
Kent 190 • Bastianini 124 • Miguel Oliveira 102
Images courtesy www.motogp.com