MotoGP Germany: Quartararo dominates French one-two at ‘The Ring’

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo completed another MotoGP masterclass after dominating at the Sachsenring on Sunday.

The Frenchman met the flag five seconds clear of Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco to claim Yamaha’s first victory at the German track since Valentino Rossi in 2009. Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller recovering from a long lap penalty to celebrate on the podium for the third time this year.

After securing a new all-time circuit record on Saturday, Pecco Bagnaia sat at the head of the MotoGP grid in preparation for 30 gruelling laps around the short and sharp 3.7km Sachsenring. Reigning champion Quartararo and Zarco completing the front row.

Ducati dominated the first three rows with six of the top eight on Bologna machinery as the factory searched for its first victory in Saxony since Casey Stoner in 2008 and with Marc Marquez recovering from shoulder surgery once again - having won the last eight races - the ‘King of the Ring’ title was firmly up for grabs.

Miller lined up in sixth with a long lap penalty looming following a crash under yellow flags in Saturday’s FP4. The temperatures rising to 35℃ ambient and 52℃ on track ahead of lights out as Gresini’s Enea Bastianini was the sole rider to opt for medium front Michelins with Maverick Viñales, Repsol’s Pol Espargaro and Quartararo running medium rears in the challenging conditions.

The Yamaha man bettered Bagnaia’s GP22 as the pack released with Aleix Espargaro up to third on the Aprilia RS-GP. Zarco demoted into the path of Gresini rookie Fabio di Giannantonio with Miller heading Luca Marini and Viñales in the top eight before the Aprilia rider struck for seventh.

Bagnaia looked to attack the Champ through turn one next time around before Quartararo hit back, Zarco making his own moves back into podium contentions the second lap played out as Miller prepared to dispatch his penalty.

Viñales was up to sixth as Diggia dropped to seventh, Prima Pramac’s Jorge Martin, Marini and Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder completing the top ten ahead of the HRC riders of Takaaki Nakagami and Espargaro.

Disaster struck Bagnaia at turn one as his title hopes disappeared in the dust once again after losing the rear in the low grip conditions. The lone Suzuki of Joan Mir suffering a similar fate seconds later with Darryn Binder crashing the WithU Yamaha out at turn 13 on a dramatic fourth lap.

Aprilia rose to third and fourth in the chaos with two Frenchmen commanding the field out front. Rookie di Giannantonio continued to impress from fifth ahead of the regrouping Miller, Martin, Binder and Marini. Nakagami the next to crash out, for his third this weekend, at turn eight from tenth.

Miguel Oliveira advanced the second RC16 into the top ten after nine laps on track. The sole full-time Honda rider, Espargaro, his latest victim with Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi and Bastianini heading the Yamaha’s of Andrea Dovizioso and Franky Morbidelli in the final points positions.

Viñales was on the wheels of his title-challenging teammate as lap 12 got underway. The Spaniard proving that his RS-GP race pace was up to scratch if his qualifying provided the potential and a podium now in his sights. Miller bettering ‘Diggia’ for fifth but with a near two-second gap to bridge for further progression.

Quartararo held a 1.4s lead as Zarco upped the pace, the pursuing Frenchman easily the fastest rider on track as the halfway stage approached before the M1 answered with confidence. Miller demolishing the gap to the Aprilias as he vied for podium contention with half a second now separating him from Vinales with 15 laps to go.

Di Giannantonio battled Martin for sixth as the second half played out. Marini on the back of the duo, a second clear of the two KTMs as Miller made his move on Viñales ahead after the Aprilia rider ran wide at turn eight. Diggia the next to dispatch the Aprilia as the Spaniard suffered an issue on his way to tenth before he retired to pitlane.

Ten to go and Miller was checking out Espargaro for the final podium position as Martin bettered Diggia for fifth. Marini the next to deny the rookie before the South African fired up the KTM to seventh and the disappointed Italian dropped three positions in a matter of seconds.

Pol Espargaro’s painful run of luck continued as the Repsol rider retired to the pits from the back to the pack after a bruising weekend. Alex Marquez having done likewise in the opening stages with Stefan Bradl the sole remaining Honda in 16th.

Marini was on a charge in the final seven laps as he promoted the VR46 into fifth. Raul Fernandez finding his way through on Morbidelli for 12th as Tech3 Teammate Remy Gardner did the same on Dovizioso in the final two points positions.

The leading trio were running solitary races out front as four and five seconds split the podium. Miller just two-tenths off the back of Espargaro in third with Marini a further second adrift in the top five. The Australian repeatedly challenging the Aprilia but unsuccessful and running wide in the process each time.

Miller was on the podium with three laps to go after Espargaro ran wide at turn one struggling with his rear tyre. Quartararo kicking off the final lap with a five-second advantage over his countryman and Zarco over three ahead of the hard-charging Australian.

Quartararo celebrated another French one-two, despite suffering with illness across the German weekend, with Miller consolidating the podium for double Ducati delight. The trio openly exhausted in Parc Fermé.

Espargaro settled for fourth at the flag from Marini, Martin and Binder, while Di Giannantonio came home for a career best eight. The second KTM/Gresini duo of Oliveira and Bastianini completed the top ten with Bezzecchi, Fernandez, Morbidelli, Dovizioso and Gardner claiming the final points. Bradl the sole home talent and the sole finisher without a points reward.

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