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All or nothing: who can beat the King of the Sachsenring?
Marquez has eight straight wins at the track – and a target on his back
Since his MotoGP™ debut in 2013, no one has beaten reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to the top step at the Sachsenring – or even before. The number 93 has eight straight wins at the track: one in the 125 World Championship in 2010, two in Moto2™ in 2011 and 2012, and every year since in the premier class. That’s makes the goal for the rest of the grid a simple one as we barrel towards the summer break: beat the King of the Sachsenring.
It won’t be easy. The final battle of the first half of the season will take place at another venue steeped in history and although the track itself is newer, the anti-clockwise venue is a unique one. The weather could also play a role, with the German GP always more of a question mark than many other tracks on the grid. But the field won’t leave it to chance – with the points gap behind Marquez only continuing to grow, they can’t afford to.
So who will be taking on the king of the 3,5km Sachsenring? His biggest competition may well come from teammate Dani Pedrosa, whose MotoGP™ record at the German track is equaled only by his record at Valencia. The number 26 has won four times at the venue, and with a Press Conference on Thursday at which he’ll be announcing details of his future, it will be a big weekend for the three-time World Champion.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) is another name with a great CV at the track, including four premier class wins. He’s also the closest challenger to Marquez in the title fight as it stands, making it everything to play for for the nine-time World Champion. A winner at the venue for two manufacturers, too, Rossi will surely be a threat – as will teammate Maverick Viñales. Viñales’ record isn’t as shimmering, with two podiums in the lightweight class, but the Spaniard beat the ‘Doctor’ over the line last season and has his own aspirations to the crown, sitting third overall…
Last season, however, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) beat both the Movistar Yamahas to complete the podium. The Italian has a solid record at the track added to by the rostrum finish, and the Borgo Panigale factory have won there before, back in 2008 with Casey Stoner. ‘DesmoDovi’ needs some form and began to recover that in Assen, taking fourth to move up to fifth in the standings – can he keep the tide turning a little on teammate Jorge Lorenzo in Germany? The Sachsenring is one of very few venues where the number 99 has never won, but two out of the last three wins for Lorenzo makes it a big statement for Dovizioso if he can turn the odds against the Spaniard.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is on song and took his best ever finish last time out, teammate Andrea Iannone will want to fight back and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) has a solid record at the track – as do Honda as a manufacturer. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), meanwhile, has a tough act to follow after then-teammate Jonas Folger pushed Marquez to the limit last season – but the Frenchman says he has the data. Will that help him turnaround what was one of his toughest weekends as a rookie and make it second time lucky?
It’s the final race before the summer break and the last chance for many to regain some momentum before we take some time off. With Marquez so far ahead the reigning Champion can afford to take a few risks in Germany – but his competitors can’t afford to let him. Tune in for the German GP from Friday 13th of July, before the race puts another 25 points on the table on Sunday 15th.
1 – Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA 140 points
2 – Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA 99
3 – Maverick Viñales (SPA) YAMAHA 93
4 – Johann Zarco (FRA) YAMAHA 81
5 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI 79