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REPORT: Martin makes a mess, Bagnaia cleans up

Matt Clayton
Monday, 8 July 2024

Jorge Martin had a German Grand Prix double and the series lead going into the summer break under control, but threw it all away to hand Pecco Bagnaia a free swing to further stoke his MotoGP momentum.

Pecco Bagnaia piled on the pressure, and Jorge Martin buckled under the strain. That’s the simplistic – and slightly harsh – summation of the German Grand Prix, but it’s an accurate one, and one that sees the reigning world champion back in the series lead for the first time since the opening round in Qatar, and with all the momentum after a stunning late turn of events on Sunday.

The two Ducati riders have been the class of the field for much of the past two seasons, and so it proved again at the Sachsenring after Martin converted pole to a Sprint race win on Saturday.


Martin led from pole for the 30-lap Grand Prix, but Bagnaia was up the inside and into the lead at the final corner on lap two. Martin then barged back through on lap seven, and Pramac Ducati teammate Franco Morbidelli followed him, the Italian reprising his 2020-21 form by fighting at the sharp end. But as Morbidelli’s early charge ran out of steam, Bagnaia turned up the heat.

The reigning world champion drew to within seventh-tenths of a second with six laps left, but Martin looked set to do the German GP double for a second straight year. Then came Turn 1 on the penultimate lap, where Martin inexplicably dropped it to allow Bagnaia into the lead – and with it, relinquished a series advantage he’d held since Portugal in round two. 

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What looked set to be a 15-point lead for Martin instantly became a 10-point Bagnaia advantage, but the pain of throwing away a win will haunt Martin more than the points lost. 

A battle for third between brothers and Gresini Ducati teammates Marc Marquez and Alex Marquez suddenly became a stoush for second, which Marc won to complete a remarkable recovery from breaking his left index finger and suffering with sore ribs after a 190km/h practice crash on Friday. 

He wasn’t able to extend an unbeaten run in Germany that stretched back to his past 11 starts, but finishing second – and sharing the podium with his sibling for the first time in their MotoGP careers – would have almost been as good. 

For the record, it was the first time two brothers had finished on the podium since Japanese siblings Nobuatsu and Takuma Aoki in Imola in 1997 – which explained why Bagnaia’s winning grin after his fourth straight victory was only just wider than the Marquez pair on the final rostrum before the sport’s four-week summer break.


Surprise packet

Miguel Oliveira had largely toiled in obscurity so far this season – hard to do when you’re on a livery as bright as Trackhouse Racing’s Aprilia – but the Portuguese rider was on song at the Sachsenring, a brilliant second on the grid unlocking his best weekend of the year by a long way. 

Oliveira maintained second in Saturday’s 15-lap sprint, denying Bagnaia, and finished sixth (and as the first non-Ducati) on Sunday to bank 19 world championship points, almost double his next-best round of the season (10 points at the Spanish GP in April) to rise to 13th in the world championship standings. 


Number to know

4: Bagnaia’s fourth straight win is the first streak of that length for any rider since … Bagnaia won four Grands Prix in a row from Assen to Misano in 2022. 

German Motorcycle Grand Prix: top 10

  1. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 40mins 40.063secs
  2. Marc Marquez (Ducati) +3.804secs 
  3. Alex Marquez (Ducati) +4.334secs 
  4. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) +5.317secs
  5. Franco Morbidelli (Ducati) +5.557secs
  6. Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia) +10.481secs 
  7. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) +14.746secs
  8. Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) +14.930secs 
  9. Brad Binder (KTM) +15.084secs
  10. Raul Fernandez (Aprilia) +16.384secs


Riders' championship standings (top 5)

  1. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 222 points
  2. Jorge Martin (Ducati) 212
  3. Marc Marquez (Ducati) 166
  4. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) 155
  5. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) 125


What's next?

Round 10: Great Britain (Silverstone), August 2-4