Márquez takes second MotoGP win

Rookie rides to spectacular victory in Germany after accident-strewn weekend

Marc Márquez (c) Cal Crutchlow (l) and Valentino Rossi on the podium.
Marc Márquez (c) Cal Crutchlow (l) and Valentino Rossi on the podium. THOMAS PETER (Reuters)

Spanish MotoGP rider Marc Márquez overcame a shaky start at Sunday's German Grand Prix to take the checkered flag, notching up the second victory of his career so far in the category. The extraordinary win for the 20-year-old was thanks to some brilliant passing, as well as his ability to keep a cool head at the front of the field, in the context of a weekend that was plagued by some big accidents at the Sachsenring circuit.

The big news from Friday's free practice sessions came when Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo suffered a massive fall, just two weeks after he had broken his collarbone in a similar incident in Assen. Incredibly, he managed to compete in the Netherlands race, finishing fifth in spite of the pain he was suffering. But Lorenzo was forced to undergo further surgery this weekend after his fall at the Sachsenring, having to sit out Sunday's race, as well as already being ruled out for next weekend's United States Grand Prix in Laguna Seca in Salinas, California.

Lorenzo, the reigning world champion, had been locked in a title fight so far this year with Dani Pedrosa, but the Honda rider also had a terrifying crash in the third practice session on Saturday. The Spaniard suffered a massive highside at turn one and was thrown high into the air, landing heavily on his left arm and shoulder. His visor was ripped off his helmet as he bounced into the gravel. He was later ruled out of the race by doctors due to dizziness and low blood pressure.

That left Márquez without two of his main competitors on the track, and, as he has done many times this season so far, he exceeded expectations to take pole position in Saturday's qualifying session. When it came to Sunday's race, however, he was let down by a poor start, and had to battle it out with a leading pack made up of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), German rider and local hero Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), and the UK's Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha).

Valentino managed to snatch the lead off the start but was soon overcome first by Bradl, and then by Márquez and Crutchlow. After some spectacular dicing on track, Bradl eventually finished fourth, with Rossi third, Crutchlow second and Márquez first, the rookie rider pulling an impressive wheelie as he crossed the line.

The result — and the absence of Pedrosa and Lorenzo — means that Márquez has now taken the lead in the championship standings, with 138 points compared to Pedrosa's 136 and Lorenzo's 127.

I don't think Marc should discredit the result," said Cal Crutchlow. 

Márquez said after the race that it did "feel a bit different" without his Spanish competitors, and that he would have preferred to see more riders out at the front. But Cal Crutchlow was keen for Márquez not to give the matter too much importance. "I don't think Marc should discredit the result," the Briton said. "Even if [Pedrosa and Lorenzo] weren't here, the pace he showed was so fast — even faster than last year. I believe the result could have been the same."

Meanwhile, the Spanish riders continue to dominate in the other categories, with Aspar rider Jordi Torres taking his first win in Sunday's Moto2 race. In fact, it was the first time that the Spaniard had ever made the podium in the category, as well as marking the first time that he had managed to qualify on the front row of the grid. Torres dedicated his win to his brother Ruben, who died on the Montmeló circuit in Barcelona when he was 18 during a race in the Supersport category.

Sunday's result has left British rider Scott Redding at the top of the Moto2 championship with 143 points, and Spaniards Pol Espargaró and Esteve Rabat in second and third, respectively.

And, surely to the surprise of no one, the Moto3 podium was an all-Spanish affair, for the seventh time this season out of eight races. Alex Rins took the checkered flag, while Luis Salom finished second and Maverick Viñales third. Salom currently leads the championship with 172 points, while Viñales is in second place with 158. Rins is third on 142 points.

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