“There are journalists at the moment in the media centre and around the world typing up the biggest comeback story in MotoGP”, one of the commentators mentioned during Lap 27 as Marquez was leading the pack with Oliviera biting at his heels. Yes! I was indeed typing furiously, trying to punch in all the details of this glorious chase that was perfectly backdropped by a moody, overcast sky.
If the qualifying rounds for the German GP were surprising, the actual race today was emotionally charged. Sachsenring is the shortest track in the series and the one where Marc Marquez has had a number of wins. The question right from the start was – Will the Spaniard be able to come on top despite starting in P5 and after having returned after an almost career-ending crash last year? Anyone who paid close attention would have caught Marquez’s focused gaze right before the start of the race. He was going to shoot for the top spot and he very well did get there!
581 days in the making! ????
— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) June 20, 2021
The weather was completely different from how it was yesterday. Gone was the sweltering heat and cloudy skies had cast a shadow of doubt amongst all. Suddenly it was the weather that everyone was concerned about. The race began with Johann Zarco (PramacRacing) in first place, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in second and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Gresini Team) in third. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was in P5 but not for very long. As soon as the race kicked off, the Spaniard pushed through the crowd. At the very first turn, he squeezed himself through a very tight gap, almost making contact with Quartararo and climbed up to P2. It was a risky gamble but paid off massively as by the end of the first lap he was leading the pack.
Quartararo, Zarco and Espargaro started to slip behind as the race progressed. However, Quartararo did manage to pull himself together and slowly started advancing during the second half of the race. The French racer had settled into a good rhythm and did not want to mess things up by being impatient. He already had the lead in terms of points racked, so any risk like that would not have been a wise decision. It was a good call as the Yamaha rider did manage a podium finish by the end of the race.
The first crash in the race came when Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) bumped into each other and went off the track at Turn 1 during Lap 4. Neither of them was happy as their bikes were done for the day. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Gresini Team) also had to retire from the race as he crashed during Turn 10. Thankfully all three riders were safe and did not suffer any serious injuries.
Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) had a rather promising start and did manage to stay in the top 5 for a long time but ultimately lost his pace a little during the last few laps and finished sixth. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) gave a commendable performance as well. Even though he went down to P11 from his starting position in the tenth spot, the Italian clawed his way back up to fifth position.
By Lap 10, it had started to drip and everyone braced for a dramatic change in the weather conditions. What had not changed was Marquez’s position in the race. In fact, he had somehow managed to gain a lead of over 1 second over Miller, who was in second place. It almost looked like Marquez was racing alone, way ahead of the others. Some might even say he was indeed racing alone as he extended his lead by almost 2 seconds at one point of time.
The brief drizzle did not turn into full-fledged rain and that was somewhat of a bad news for Honda’s Taaki Nakagami who had switched to a soft compound rear tyre. The Japanese rider finished the race in 13th position.
Oliviera was slowly closing in the gap between him and Marquez during the last 10 laps while Quartararo was more than 3 seconds behind. During the last 5 laps, Marquez was starting to feel the repercussions of pushing his bike so hard the entire time. The tyres were losing grip and there were few moments where the bike almost had some incidents. Olivera was making full use of that and creeping ever closer to to the Spaniard in a nail-biting sequence of turns. While Marquez was faster in Sector 1 and 2, Oliviera was making up the difference in the latter parts of the track.
In the end, Olivier could not keep up with the King of the Ring who rode his way to an emotional victory. This was Marquez’s first podium since 2019 and 11th consecutive win at Sachsenring. Fabio Quartararo is stealing leading with a total of 131 points with Johann Zarco just 22 points behind. Jack Miller is a close third as well with 100 points.
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