Honda Repsol rider Marc Marquez captured his ninth straight MotoGP victory at the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland on Sunday, bringing the 21-year-old’s perfect season to the doorstep of the all-time consecutive win record to open a season.
Next month in Indianapolis at the Grand Prix of the Americas, Marquez can tie Giacomo Agostini’s record 10 wins to open the 1970 season.
Marquez won the German Grand Prix in what has become typical dominant fashion, beating Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa to the line by 1.4 seconds. The two Spanish riders were joined on the podium by fellow countryman and two-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
The race at the 2.281-mile Saschenring began similarly to the previous event in the MotoGP schedule at Assen, Holland, with fickle rain showers leaving teams unsure of whether to run wet tires or slicks prior to the start.
Unlike the Assen event, the opening to the German Grand Prix was characterized by a sort of organized chaos, with over a dozen riders coming to the pit, changing to slicks and then setting up for the start in a tight bunch at the end of pit lane.
Marquez and Pedrosa, who were set to start first and second, respectively, were among the riders starting from the pit. LCR Honda rider Stephan Bradl elected to run slicks in advance, and was given the advantage of starting from his pre-determined spot on the front row by himself, with other riders gapped several rows behind him. After the starting group began the race from the track itself, the pit lane bunch was allowed to take to the course as the on-track group passed.
Bradl’s early lead and wide gap to second was compromised within a few laps, with Marquez and Pedrosa catching and overtaking the German rider by Lap seven.
The partially wet track dried over the coming laps, and Marquez and Pedrosa routinely swapped best lap times as grip increased.
The Movistar Yamaha team also worked its way through the field, as Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi passed Bradl for fourth and fifth places, respectively.
In the coming laps, Marquez maintained a lead of at least a half-second on his teammate, although Pedrosa never let the younger rider pull away. By Lap 22, however, Marquez increased his lead to 1.5 seconds.
Marquez crossed the finish line with a comfortable gap to second, though not as wide as the previous round in Holland and several earlier rounds.
The Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha riders maintained their positions in the top four, followed by satellite Ducati rider Andrea Iannone in fifth place.
Tech3 Yamaha rider Bradley Smith crashed early, making it his fifth wreck of the weekend.
Marquez extended his 72-point lead over Pedrosa to 77 points, while Rossi, who was formerly tied for second, drops to 84 points back in third.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha)
4. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha)
5. Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
6. Aleix Espargaro (Forward Racing)
7. Pol Espargarò (Tech3 Yamaha)
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Factory Ducati)
9. Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda)
10. Cal Crutchlow (Factory Ducati)
11. Scott Redding (Gresini Honda)
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar)
13. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB)
14. Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar)
15. Danilo Petrucci (Iodaracing)
16. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda)
17. Yonny Hernandez (Pramac Racing)
18. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing)
19. Bradley Smith (Tech3 Yamaha)
20. Colin Edwards (Forward Racing)
21. Broc Parkes (Paul Bird Motorsport)
22. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing)
23. Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport)