until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


German Grand Prix 2024 MotoGP rider rankings

by Simon Patterson
10 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Sunday’s German Grand Prix wasn’t the first time that Jorge Martin has throw away a sure MotoGP win.

It wasn’t even the first time that he’s done it at a moment when it feels like it could well trigger a decisive title swing in favour of rival and Sachsenring race winner Pecco Bagnaia, even if Martin's sprint race win offers something of a consolation prize.

As always, there was more going on behind that lead battle, with a whole host of interesting scenarios playing out thanks to something of a topsy turvy weekend at one of the MotoGP’s season’s most unusual race circuits.

That, of course, means lots of metrics to use to assess the field and determine the German GP rider rankings.

Scoring the grid in order based on their performances not just in the main event but also Saturday’s sprint race, it’s obviously all subjective - but comes not just from their final race result but takes into account things like the machinery they’re on and the pre-race expectations from them.

1 Pecco Bagnaia

Started: 4th Sprint: 3rd Finished: 1st

A textbook example of why Bagnaia is a double world champion.

Having made a strategic mistake in the sprint race that forced him to settle for a podium, he made no such errors on Sunday and was comfortable closing down Martin in the closing stages of the race when his pace forced an error from his rival that handed Bagnaia the win - and the title lead.

It means that momentum remains in his favour going into the summer break - and makes beating him to the title look increasingly hard for Martin (or Marc Marquez) to do.

2 Marc Marquez

Started: 13th Sprint: 6th Finished: 2nd

You’ve got to wonder what would have been possible for Marquez at his beloved Sachsenring were it not for an incident with Stefan Bradl in qualifying that probably kept him out of Q2.

Forced to work his way through the pack as a result (and riding injured after a huge crash in practice), this was no easy weekend - but the fact that he was able to bounce back to second at the flag shows that the old Marquez is closer than ever to reappearing.

3 Miguel Oliveira

Started: 2nd Sprint: 2nd Finished: 6th

A weekend like this has been a long time coming for Oliveira.

To his absolute credit, when he found what he needed, he managed to deliver on it with an overdue sprint podium and a solid Sunday race.

Maintaining that level after the summer break will be harder, but his Trackhouse Aprilia team will be hoping that it’s the confidence boost that he needed to get his head back in the game.

4 Alex Marquez

Started: 5th Sprint: 9th Finished: 3rd

Alex Marquez has been threatening a podium all season long on the Gresini Ducati, and in reality it feels like a bit of a surprise that it’s taken this long.

But credit where it’s due: he set himself up perfectly on Sunday to capitalise on Martin’s mistakes and, even if he had no pace left to fight his brother with in the closing stages, he still made sure that it was his best weekend of the season by quite some way.

5 Franco Morbidelli

Started: 6th Sprint: 5th Finished: 5th

It’s been a long, slow run back to full fitness and form for Morbidelli, but the Sachsenring was more proof that the process is working out for him.

He’s got the speed back, at least, and while there might still be some work to do in maintaining it over a race distance, he’s now working from a much stronger base. Still looking a little rusty with some of his manoeuvres, hopefully that too will improve in time.

6 Pedro Acosta

Started: 10th Sprint: 22nd Finished: 7th

It’s quite telling that Acosta finished his weekend at the Sachsenring quite disappointed with his results rather than pleased.

He continues to be KTM’s top rider, he continues to far outperform his rookie status, but it’s also clear that he still has plenty of learning to do. However, it seems he only needs to be told something once - and the rapid progress continues.

7 Enea Bastianini

Started: 9th Sprint: 4th Finished: 4th

On one hand, a pair of fourths is a pretty solid weekend’s work for Bastianini.

But the reality is that he isn’t paid a factory rider's salary to be coming home a long way behind his team-mate - and certainly not to be behind the year-old machines of the Marquez brothers. Even his usual late-race pace was missing on Sunday, and despite coming away from it with decent points it wasn’t a stellar weekend.

8 Marco Bezzecchi

Started: 12th Sprint: 10th Finished: 8th

A rather invisible weekend for Bezzecchi, the positives from it are nonetheless obvious: he ended Sunday’s race in a decent (not great) position, and did so without a visit to the gravel trap - something that’s been far, far too commonplace for him of late.

Even more importantly, he thinks he’s fixed some of his season-long woes - but only time will tell on that front.

9 Raul Fernandez

Started: 3rd Sprint: 14th Finished: 10th

For a long time, Aprilia in particular has been very quick to big up the potential of Fernandez - potential that we’ve not really seen much of.

But it’s finally coming together now, and both his one-lap speed and his recent run of consistency is starting to show why Aprilia's got so much faith in him.

There’s clearly still work to be done, but it’s definitely getting there for the Trackhouse rider. He’s built a solid base ahead of the summer break that he needs to improve on in the second half of the year as he upgrades onto 2024-spec machinery.

10 Fabio Di Giannantonio

Started: 8th Sprint: 12th Finished: DNF

Credit to Di Giannantonio: he’s in the hunt for a job for next year, and right now he’s doing everything he can to convince the world he deserves it.

The Sachsenring weekend wasn’t phenomenal in terms of results from the VR46 Ducati rider, but the pace was certainly there again and he was denied a chance to do much better on Sunday in particular by a slow puncture that ended his race prematurely.

11 Maverick Vinales

Started: 7th Sprint: 7th Finished: 12th

Another one of those Vinales weekends that felt like it started off with so much potential and then just dissolved into mediocrity as the Aprilia racer failed to make it work out.

Very much a victim of getting shouldered out early on in the race and having to work his way back with great pace, it feels like that should have been utilised at the front instead of the back of the pack...

12 Fabio Quartararo

Started: 14th Sprint: 13th Finished: 11th

Even when the Yamaha M1 was working at its best here, the Sachsenring was never somewhere that it worked particularly well, meaning that this was always going to be (to a certain extent) a weekend of data gathering for Quartararo.

Nonetheless, he didn’t do a terrible job, and was left quietly pleased with his performances at the end of the weekend. Considering Yamaha's limitations, it doesn’t feel like he left a whole lot more on the table.

13 Remy Gardner

Started: 22nd Sprint: 20th Finished: 19th

Given he was thrown straight into the cauldron of MotoGP without having ever ridden a Yamaha M1, and doing so at one of the most unique tracks on the calendar, Alex Rins’ replacement Gardner did very well indeed to walk away being able to say he didn’t finish either race in last place.

Maybe that's not enough to successfully audition for a Pramac Yamaha seat for 2025, but he definitely didn’t embarrass himself with his pace.

14 Taka Nakagami

Started: 17th Sprint: 18th Finished: 14th

It doesn’t take too much these days to make yourself look good on a Honda, with the bar essentially being set at beating your colleagues.

Nakagami managed exactly that at the Sachsenring, at least making his LCR bike work less worse than the other Honda riders. Points on the board these days is something to celebrate for that group, and he should walk away with a pat on the back for it.

15 Augusto Fernandez

Started: 15th Sprint: 16th Finished: 16th

The previous round at Assen was a tough race for Fernandez, with the Dutch circuit’s layout exaggerating all his current issues.

That meant he needed to come to the Sachsenring and both have a confidence reset and find a better path with his Gas Gas-branded KTM - and to his credit, he managed to accomplish that. It’s a shame that a tyre-pressure infringement took away his reward (points), but the bigger picture should be more important for the Tech3 racer.

16 Luca Marini

Started: 18th Sprint: 15th Finished: 15th

It’s quite remarkable to think that it’s taken almost until the summer break to see one of the once all-conquering Repsol Hondas score its first points of the year, especially with a rider like Marini, who had such an accomplished 2023, aboard it.

Yet it’s more a sign of the times than a reflection on the rider, even if the end result did show that he was at Sachsenring, perhaps for the first time this year, in significantly better form than world champion team-mate Mir.

17 Brad Binder

Started: 11th Sprint: 8th Finished: 9th

A low rating for someone whose results were a lot better, but the same old problem remains for Binder: it doesn’t matter how good your finishing positions are when you’re still being outclassed by a rookie team-mate on a satellite spec of your bike.

Acosta continues to make all the other KTMs look bad, and that’s got to sting Binder more than the others thanks to his de facto team leader status - something you can’t see surviving into 2025 when he and Acosta become factory team-mates.

18 Stefan Bradl

Started: 22nd Sprint: 19th Finished: 20th

There’s not too much to say: a wildcard appearance for Bradl at his home race as a bit of a thank you from Honda that ended much the way you expect from the test rider, with solid finishes and lots of data gathered.

The fact he managed to battle with factory rider Joan Mir (on admittedly the Spaniard’s worst weekend in a long time) is a little added bonus for the German. However, it's also worth noting that he managed to perform a spectacularly dumb move in qualifying that he was lucky to escape relatively unpenalised for. Race rustiness showing itself, perhaps.

19 Jorge Martin

Started: 1st Sprint: 1st Finished: DNF

Sprint race success simply isn’t enough to make up for the fact that Martin once again threw away a race win (and the title lead) by crashing out while under only a relatively small amount of pressure from Bagnaia.

A recurring trend that even he now admits to, it’s indicative of why he still isn’t a world champion - and it needs to be addressed if he wants to achieve that goal.

20 Jack Miller

Started: 16th Sprint: 11th Finished: 13th

Another weekend for Miller that was just… meh. Consistently third-fastest of the four KTMs and routinely closer to the struggling Augusto Fernandez than rookie Acosta, it was another of the sort of performances that makes it harder and harder to justify Miller a spot on the grid next year.

Sure, it was a tough weekend for KTM, but he needs to be closer to the others even on those tracks where the bike is suffering.

21 Johann Zarco

Started: 19th Sprint: 17th Finished: 17th

Obviously the Sachsenring wasn’t an easy one for any of the Honda riders, and at least Zarco wasn’t the worst of them at any point.

But he was still outclassed by team-mate Nakagami, not a position that Zarco should be finding himself in too often given their relative histories.

22 Joan Mir

Started: 20th Sprint: 21st Finished: 18th

Even as Honda weekends go for Joan Mir, the Sachsenring one was a total disaster.

Never once looking competitive throughout the whole weekend, it's telling that he spent the weekend battling with test rider Bradl. Clearly something was missing compared to his usual level, although given recent Honda memories at the German track Mir might nonetheless be counting his blessings that he walked away from a bad weekend unscathed rather than in plaster.

Factory Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro was not ranked following his withdrawal from the Sachsenring weekend.

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