Marc Marquez has extended his perfect season at Sachsenring, the Repsol Honda ace taking his ninth victory of the year in the 30-lap German GP. The reigning champ and runaway points leader claimed the win ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, with Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo taking the final podium position.
Marquez did have to work for his win, however, after a hectic start, which was complicated by the pre-race rain. Most riders lined up on the grid for the sighting lap with wet tires, but a handful of riders opted for slicks - foremost being LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, who qualified in third. Evaluating the track conditions on the warm-up lap, 14 wet tire-equipped riders all dove into the pits to swap out with their slick-shod backup bikes. The result was Bradl starting all by himself up front, the next wave of riders five rows back on the starting grid. The real action was at the end of pit lane, where the bike swap riders had congregated, including Marquez.
The unusual starting procedure saw Bradl lead his home Grand Prix for the opening laps, followed by the usual backmarkers. Marquez led the pit-lane starters followed by Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi, as well as early pit-row start leader Aleix Espargao. Marquez started carving his way up through the backmarker ranks within the second lap, as Pedrosa and Rossi gave chase.
Bradl was able to hold the front for five laps, with Marquez slashing by and Pedrosa doing the same in short order. After Bradl dropped to third, the Repsol Hondas checked out - Marquez leading the way with his teammate in tow.
Rossi and Lorenzo battled through the backmarker obstacles as well, and then it was their turn to challenge Bradl. Lorenzo poached fourth from his factory Yamaha teammate, and got by the German first. Rossi then made his move with 20-laps to-go.
The opening third of the race featured plenty of drama, but finally settled into the usual MotoGP plot line: Marquez setting the pace up at the front, challenged only by his teammate, Pedrosa, and the factory Yamahas desperate to make up time on their Honda counterparts.
Bradl continued to go backwards in the running order, passed by Pramac Racing's Andrea Iannone, Forward Racing's Aleix Espargaro and the factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. Eventually, even the customer Honda of Scott Redding got around the LCR pilot. Bradl would go on to finish 16th.
Up at the front, Marquez was uncatchable for another dominating victory, his ninth of the year extending the perfect season. Pedrosa was a lone second, completing the 1-2 Repsol Honda result. Lorenzo claimed the final podium spot, his third of the year. Rossi finished fourth, with Iannone completing the top five - the best-ever MotoGP finish for the Pramac Ducati rider.
The Espargaro brothers took the sixth and seventh spots, with Aleix placing ahead on his Forward Racing mount. Dovizioso claimed eighth, followed by Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista, with Crutchlow rounding out the top 10.
The victory for Marquez gives him a perfect 225 points, and a commanding 77-point advantage over second-place Pedrosa. Rossi, who was tied with Pedrosa for second overall entering Sachsenring, drops to third, 84 points down to Marquez. Meanwhile, Lorenzo remains fifth in the standings, but is now only one point behind fourth-placed Dovizioso. However, Lorenzo is a staggering 128 points adrift of the points leader as the German GP marks the halfway point of the season.
2014 MotoGP Sachsenring Results:
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) + 1.466
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha) + 10.317
4. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) + 19.194
5. Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) + 23.509
6. Aleix Espargaro (Forward Racing) + 27.809
7. Pol Espargarò (Tech3 Yamaha) + 33.253
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Factory Ducati) + 33.868
9. Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) + 34.231
10. Cal Crutchlow (Factory Ducati) + 34.676
11. Scott Redding (Gresini Honda) + 37.744
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar) + 45.018
13. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) + 45.177
14. Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) + 46.676
15. Danilo Petrucci (Iodaracing) + 52.769
16. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) + 53.889
17. Yonny Hernandez (Pramac Racing) + 54.476
18. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) + 56.215
19. Bradley Smith (Tech3 Yamaha) + 56.293
20. Colin Edwards (Forward Racing) + 1'04.083
21. Broc Parkes (Paul Bird Motorsport) + 1'10.928
22. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing) + 1'19.975
DNF Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport)