Marc Marquez won his first race since 2019 as the six-time world champion dominated in the rain at the Sachsenring to win the German MotoGP.
Marquez missed almost all of last season and since his return he has had trouble lasting the pace, crashing out in his last three. On Saturday, the Spaniard took a risk in the rain and then stayed clear of in-form Portuguese Miguel Oliveira and championship leader Fabio Quartararo.
“It is one of the most important and hardest moments of my career,” said an emotional Marquez. “It was not easy mentally, I’m coming from a hard situation: three zeros in a row. I’m human, it affects me...”
Marquez started on the second row but burst through at the start and was battling for the lead with fellow Spaniard Aleix Espargaro of Aprilla when rain started to fall.
While other riders grew more cautious, Marquez, who had not won since Valencia in November 2019, attacked. “When I saw a few drops on laps four and five I thought: ‘this is my race’,” he said, “At that point, I pushed.”
“When more drops fell, I pushed more. It was time to take a risk. Then the second race started with Miguel.”
Catalonia GP winner Oliveira emerged from the pack to give chase but was more than a second back. After three surgeries on the right arm, Marquez struggles turning right, but the short 3.7km Sachsenring has few right-handers.
“I said as early as Thursday that I wouldn’t have any physical limitations here,” he said.
Although Oliveira gained on right-hand corners, Marquez was able to preserve a cushion of more than a second. “It was a little cat and mouse all race,” said Oliveira. “He was faster in some sectors, I was faster in others. We battled at a distance.”
“I’ll take a second here at Sachsenring – to him.”
Marquez held on for what was clearly an emotional victory.
“It was hard to concentrate because of all the memories and all the sensations of the past year,” said Marquez.
It was his 11th straight victory at the Sachsenring, which like him was off the MotoGP circuit last season, but it was the first for him and the Honda team since Valencia.
“Marc is from another planet,” laughed Quartararo. “When you miss a year, after a serious injury, several operations, it’s incredible what he achieved today.”
Quartararo increased his lead in the championship on a track that does not suit his Yamaha.
“This podium is gold,” said Quartararo. “All weekend we have been struggling.”
Quartararo now holds a 22-point edge over compatriot Johann Zarco who was eighth on his Pramac Ducati.
In Moto2, Remy Gardner cemented his grip on the Moto2 lead, cruising to victory in Germany on Sunday after his main title rival Raul Fernandez crashed when running second.
The Australian, who rides a Kalex, finished 6.158 seconds ahead of Spaniard Aron Canet on a Boscoscuro, with Italian Marco Bezzecchi third on a Kalex. “It was long race out there on my own trying not to make mistakes and manage the gap,” said Gardner.
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