Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) scored an emotional victory in today’s German Grand Prix at Sachsenring, just six races after making his comeback from a nine-month layoff through injury.
Marquez’s return to the top step of the podium follows three operations on the right arm he broke at Jerez last July and months of gruelling rehabilitation work to regain the immense strength required to ride a MotoGP bike at the limit.
Today’s win is testament to the 28-year-old Spaniard’s incredible drive and ambition, which have taken him to victory in the 2012 Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship and six MotoGP World Championships with the Repsol Honda Team.
Immediately after the race emotions ran high in the Repsol Honda garage, where Marquez’s faithful crew and HRC engineers have played such a vital part in his comeback. And on the podium Marquez – usually an ice-cool sportsman – worked hard not to be completely overcome by his emotions.
Marquez qualified fifth fastest yesterday and made a stunning start this afternoon, snatching second place at the first corner and the lead at the last corner of the first lap. He briefly lost first place a couple of times, then got back in front and built a small advantage which grew rapidly when a rain shower dampened parts of the circuit.
At this stage of the race Marquez showed his amazing bravery – maintaining a rapid pace despite reduced grip – then during the second half of the gruelling 30 laps he resisted huge pressure from Miguel Oliveira. With five laps to go the gap shrank to nine tenths of a second, but Marquez responded brilliantly to take the chequered flag 1.6 seconds in front.
This latest success is Marquez’s 57th MotoGP win and his 83rd across all classes. His previous victory came at the Valencia GP in November 2019.
However, Marquez isn’t yet at 100% strength. He continues to work at rebuilding the muscles in his right arm, which still causes him some issues in right-handed corners. Sachsenring runs anti-clockwise, so his injury bothered him less here. Also, Sachsenring is his favourite circuit. This was his eighth consecutive MotoGP victory at the German venue and his 11th in a row across three different categories – a unique performance in motorcycle Grand Prix history.
Marquez’s remarkable ride also secured Honda’s 11th consecutive MotoGP victory at Sachsenring. The earlier three wins were taken by Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC212V and RC213V) in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Team-mate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) completed the race in tenth place, his best result since his eighth-place finish in last month’s French Grand Prix. The 30-year-old Spaniard started from eighth on the grid but didn’t make a great start and lost several positions. Then he found himself stuck in the middle of the pack and struggled to overtake because this is MotoGP’s shortest, tightest track where passing is very difficult. However, Espargaro was inspired by Marquez’s victory and looks forward to some better Sundays.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) finished 13th, after choosing a soft rear tyre. The 29-year-old from Chiba didn’t get away well at the start and although he ran inside the top ten during the first couple of laps he struggled to maintain his pace as his rear tyre progressively lost grip.
Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) had a strong Saturday, going directly into the Q2 qualifying session for the first time this year, making the 25-year-old Spaniard confident for today’s race. The winner of the 2019 Sachsenring Moto2 race had high hopes of a top-eighth finish, especially after his performance with used tyres in morning warm-up.
However, luck was not on the side of the younger Marquez brother, who tangled with Danilo Petrucci on the fifth lap. Both riders fell, unhurt.
Honda’s four MotoGP riders have no time to rest after today’s race. They immediately head west to Assen for next Sunday’s Dutch TT. Assen will be the fourth race in five weekends, so the five-week midseason break that follows will be welcomed by riders and teams. The 2021 season will continue at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, with the Styrian and Austrian GPs on 8th and 15th August.