Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier with the MotoGP World Championship round at Germany’s Sachsenring circuit, Sunday morning brought more sensation as Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa—who crashed heavily in Saturday morning practice, injuring his collarbone—withdrew from racing on Sunday. Although cleared medically to participate in Sunday morning warmup, Pedrosa felt dizzy before the session, and his blood pressure dropped to the point that MotoGP medical personnel informed him that he would not be cleared to race. So just when it seemed as if Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo had handed Pedrosa the opportunity to build a nearly insurmountable points lead with his earlier withdrawal from competition due to his crash on Friday, now Lorenzo would not lose any points.
This left the door wide open for Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez to seize the MotoGP points lead, and he wasted no time in grabbing it by taking the win on Sunday with a superb ride from getting shuffled back to fourth in the early going. Valentino Rossi grabbed the lead at the start, and looked as if he might be in for a second consecutive victory; but homeboy Stefan Bradl had other plans, and snuck underneath Rossi on the last uphill right-hander before the start/finish straight to take the lead, much to the joy of the German crowd. Bradl seemed determined to claim his first MotoGP victory on home soil, as he led for the next few laps.
But Marquez was on the move, first moving past Rossi in the same final corner, and then passing Bradl on the following lap. From there, Marquez maintained a two-second lead while the order began to shuffle behind. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow began a charge from fifth that saw him pick off Bradl and Rossi with relative ease; but despite closing the gap slightly to Marquez, Crutchlow couldn’t make any inroads and settled for second. Rossi took control over third from Bradl to take another podium finish.
The win and 25 points vaulted Marquez into the points lead, and that fact wasn’t lost on the young Spaniard. “It was important to have a good race under the circumstances this weekend, without Dani and Jorge on track. I wish them a speedy recovery, because winning is important but without them the triumph isn't quite the same. Even so, it is a good result, since we have taken the maximum points available and ridden a completely different race to those that we've had before. We led the race and maintained the gap to second place. It was good experience, although I perhaps prefer races that are a little more of a battle. We should be happy, and we have also held up well physically at a circuit where there is no time to rest on the bike. We'll see how it goes in Laguna Seca, which will be a hard GP for me because I've never ridden there. We'll take it step-by-step and remain calm while we get up to speed."
“I am really happy to be on the podium again because it was a hard race in my physical condition,” admitted Crutchlow. “The two crashes in practice took a lot out of me but I dug deep and it is great to get another podium for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. I actually made a really good start but I had to roll off the throttle when Marc came towards me and that cost me a few places. The bike worked really well in the first few laps and I was able to fight my way through and I really enjoyed it. In the second half of the race the bike felt great and I was fast. I came on strong and pulled away from Valentino and I did absolutely everything I could to close down Marc. I couldn’t have done anything more but credit to him because he didn’t make a mistake, he controlled the gap to me very well and he deserved to win. I just kept on pushing and at the end second is another fantastic result. It is my fourth podium and I am not so far back in the Championship, so I can’t really ask for anything more. Now we go to Laguna trying to fight for another podium and hopefully that first win.”
“It's a good result, to stay on the podium is always a good result but I expected something more and to do a better race,” said Rossi. “During the weekend we made some choices, yesterday we decided to set up the bike in one way and today after some laps I started to suffer too much. The first ten laps were not so bad but after I started to have problems and it was too difficult to turn the bike, especially on the left I was sliding too much. We have to work to try and make another step to stay with the top guys. Next we will have Laguna, a very special track, and we will try to have better results there. We are five very fast riders and we are closer now because unfortunately Dani and Jorge are injured and we have another race next week. If I want to fight for the Championship I have to go faster and I have to be constantly faster so I have to make another step.”
Pedrosa was obviously disappointed not to race at Sachsenring. “"This morning I had my check up in the medical center and I felt okay, my shoulder was painful but otherwise I felt fine. The doctors declared me fit to take part in warm up. Then shortly before the session I began to feel dizzy again and my blood pressure dropped. The doctors came to see me in my truck and we decided I shouldn't take part in the session. I returned to my motorhome to rest and still felt dizzy and sick. The doctors arrived at my motorhome and informed me that they did not consider I was okay to race and would therefore declare me unfit."
MotoGP Sachsenring race results:
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda
2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha
4. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda
5. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda
6. Bradley Smith (GBR) Yamaha
7. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Ducati
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati
10. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati
11. Hector Barbera (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki
12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia
13. Colin Edwards (USA) FTR/Kawasaki
14. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/BMW
15. Claudio Corti (ITA) FTR/Kawasaki
16. Michael Laverty (IRL) ART/Aprilia
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) FTR/Kawasaki
18. Karel Abraham (CZE) ART/Aprilia
19. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Ioda/BMW
DNF Bryan Staring (AUS) FTR/Honda
DNF Yonny Hernandez (COL) ART/Aprilia