MotoGP 2017

Sachsenring 30th June – 2nd July 2017.

Last week we saw the MotoGP action packed race at Assen in Holland.

Now the action is at the Sachsenring. The weather was mixed, some free practise sessions were dry and some wet. Difficult for the riders to get a good setting for the race. In the past this has been a Honda circuit, will this race be any different?

Marc Márquez has won all the last five races at this circuit and eight in all classes.

Qualifying was wet, so there was an unusual grid line up.

It was fast and furious, right up to the last second. The German, Jonas Folger set a great time early on. Then British racer, Cal Crutchlow went top with minutes to go.

Dani Pedrosa, Spain, took it by just .14 of a second. Italian, Danilo Petrucci put in a lap 1/2 of a second faster and looked set to take pole with only 41 seconds to go but Marc Márquez was on a flyer, almost crashing in the process! He went .16 under Petruccis time taking pole for the 6th time at the Saxony circuit.

Qualifying results top 12

Race day, the sun was out, and after the exciting Moto2 and Moto3 races, the MotoGP riders lined up on the grid.

Track was dry and out went the lights.

Great start for premier class rookie Folger from the second row.

Marc Márquez, the reigning champion was hard-pressed by premier classic rookie and German favourite Jonas Folger all the way through the race, but Marquez had plenty left in reserve at the finish setting his best lap to put daylight between himself and the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider, winning by more than three seconds.

It was Marquez's eighth victory in a row at the Sachsenring, with his stunning run of success stretching back to 2010, when he won the 125cc race.

Behind Marquez and Folger, Dani Pedrosa finished third after a good ride, crossing the line almost three seconds ahead of Maverick Viñales on the Movistar Yamaha, who fought his was passed the other riders starting from 11th place.

Passing his Yamaha team-mate, Valentino Rossi, who finished fifth after a battle with Vinales, while Alvaro Bautista finished a very good sixth on his Aspar Ducati.

Marc Márquez is now leading the championship by five points from Vinales heading into the summer break, with Andrea Dovizioso in third – only a point behind Vinales and four ahead of Rossi. Dovizioso finished eighth in the race on the factory Ducati behind Aleix Espargaró, who was a superb seventh on the Gresini Aprilia.

Marquez, who started from pole – his eighth in a row at the Sachsenring – took the lead from Pedrosa with Jorge Lorenzo following on the Ducati, closely pursued by Folger, Danilo Petrucci and Rossi.

Folger, who had qualified fifth, started from the second row, he began to pressurise and then made a great pass on Lorenzo for third on lap three. Folger then set a new lap record in 1m 21.422s as he closed in on Marquez and Pedrosa.

Folger quickly took second with a good pass on Pedrosa and began to set after Marquez. Behind the trio, who were already making a break at the front, Lorenzo was holding off Rossi, who was being attacked by Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda.

Folger was now challenging for the lead with Marquez and to huge cheers from his home fans, he took the lead on lap six at the penultimate corner.

Rossi soon took fifth with a daring past on Lorenzo and went in pursuit of Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci, with Dovizioso now looking menacing on the GP17 as he soon passed team-mate Lorenzo.

On lap eight, Dovizioso grabbed fourth from Rossi, but the Doctor wasted no time in taking him back as he regained the position at the final corner. Rossi then moved into fourth with a pass on the brakes at Turn 1 taking Petrucci on lap 10.

At the front, Folger went wide, at the first corner on lap 11, allowing Marquez through as Pedrosa held a safe third, 3.2 seconds ahead of Rossi.

Vinales, who fell at Assen, was now getting into his stride as he made steady progress after starting from the fourth row for the second race in a row.

He quickly took two places, making passes on Aleix Espargaró at the last corner on lap 14 and Petrucci on the brakes into Turn 1 at the start of lap 15 to go sixth. The factory Yamaha rider rapidly caught Dovizioso and took him at the final corner at the end of the 19th lap.

Vinales took his Yamaha team-mate Rossi at the last but one corner on the next lap to take fourth, where he finished the race.

The battle for the lead was between Marquez and Folger, they were never more than a few tenths between them. Then Folger again went wide at Turn 1 on the brakes on lap 20, allowing the Honda rider to lead by over half a second.

Folger, though, soon slashed the deficit once more, with Pedrosa isolated in third, dropping to six seconds behind the leaders.

Marquez could have had his work cut out in the final stages of the race, but he found a bit more on the last few laps and began to drop Folger as the Yamaha riders tyres went off. Marquez increased his lead from 0.4s on lap 27 and three laps to go got up to 3.3 seconds for a comfortable victory.

Pedrosa never looked under threat as he completed the top three ahead of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, with Alvero Bautista and Aleix Espargaró.

Andrea Dovizioso finished eighth after a good start, while Johann Zarco managed a top ten finish on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha after a poor qualifying, finishing ninth ahead of British rider Cal Crutchlow, who dropped some positions on his LCR Honda. He said it was due to a warning on his dash board made him have to ease his fast pace.

Lorenzo and Petrucci, who were very promising from the beginning of the race, finished 11th and 12th, Pol Espargaró came a credible13th on his Red Bull KTM in its first year competing in MotoGP. Team-mate, Bradley Smith still racing with a badly injured little finger, and Aussie Jack Miller on his Marc VDS Honda took the last points positions as they rounded out the top 15.

Britains Scott Redding finished behind Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati), a disappointing twentieth on his Pramac Ducati. Scott’s future looks now uncertain as Pramac are talking to some other riders.

Spanish racer, Hector Barbera was disqualified for not doing his ride through penalty for a jump the start, while Britain’s Sam Lowes was a faller again, at Turn 7 on lap 13 on the Gresini Aprilia. Italy’s Andrea Iannone also crashed heavily on his Suzuki at Turn 12, his troubles with the bike continue to hamper any progress, team manager said it seems like nothing is working for the Italian, and it’s like he’s lost his motivation to attack like he used to.

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- Roland Potter