Slick strategy earns Marquez victory
Marc Marquez has strengthened his grip on the MotoGP World Championship by winning a thoroughly rain-affected German Grand Prix.
The pole-sitter was shuffled back to fifth in the opening laps and dropped further back after a tour of the gravel trap, before a bold move to pit for slicks on a drying track paid dividends.
Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso finished strongly to complete the podium, while Jorge Lorenzo languished in 15th position.
Marquez led the field out of the first corner of a soaked Sachsenring circuit but the Honda man was passed by Valentino Rossi just moments later.
Dovizioso took the lead on Lap 3 before Danilo Petrucci usurped his Italian compatriot a lap later.
Jack Miller meanwhile passed Marquez for fourth on Lap 6, having made up ten positions to run sixth at the end of the opening lap.
Two pivotal moments followed on Lap 11 when Petrucci crashed his Pramac Ducati while leading and Marquez somehow kept his Honda upright as he tore through the gravel trap at Turn 8.
Andrea Iannone was the first to switch from the wet tyres as a dry line began to emerge just before the halfway mark of the 30-lap affair.
Marquez was braver, however, in opting for slicks instead of the then-popular intermediate choice when he swapped bikes on Lap 17.
The top five of Dovizioso, Rossi, Hector Barbera, a rapidly rising Crutchlow, and Miller persevered on fading wets until all but the Australian relented seven laps from home.
That left Marquez now 10.8s from the new leader but he picked off the Marc VDS Honda just two laps later, prompting Miller to finally pit for slicks.
Marquez ultimately romped to a seventh straight win across all classes at the German Grand Prix, doubling his championship lead to 48 points over Lorenzo.
“I had a big moment on the wet tyres,” said Marquez, “but then I said, ‘Okay, this will be a flag to flag race’.
“It was getting dryer and dryer, and then when I saw the minimum possibility, I went in and changed the bike because then it is easier to take the rhythm.
“I took a lot of risk in the first laps (after pitting) but then when I saw that I was first, leading the race by 20 seconds, then it was really nice for those last laps.”
Crutchlow charged home on his LCR Honda as he and Dovizioso passed Scott Redding on the final lap.
Iannone, Dani Pedrosa, and Miller finished fifth through seventh, while Rossi’s eighth placing came after he initially ignored instructions on his pit board to abandon his wets.
Barbera and Alvaro Bautista completed the top 10, while Pol Espargaro joined Petrucci in retiring after crashing mid-race.
Stefan Bradl did not take the start after suffering concussion in a heavy warm-up crash, while Marquez escaped a fall of his own during the session.
The championship now takes its summer break ahead of a return to Austria’s Red Bull Ring from August 12-14.
In Moto2, Australia’s Remy Gardner came through to finish 12th in a race won by Johann Zarco.
Result: MotoGP German Grand Prix
|2||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||30||+9.857s|
|4||Scott Redding||Pramac Ducati||30||+11.992s|
|7||Jack Miller||Marc VDS Honda||30||+26.043s|
|9||Hector Barbera||Avintia Ducati||30||+26.614s|
|11||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Ducati||30||+41.208s|
|13||Bradley Smith||Tech3 Yamaha||30||+1:03.129s|
|16||Tito Rabat||Marc VDS Honda||29||+1 Lap|
|17||Loris Baz||Avintia Ducati||28||+2 Laps|
|18||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Ducati||27||+3 Laps|
|DNF||Pol Espargaro||Tech3 Yamaha||17||Retirement|
|DNF||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||12||Retirement|