until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP

Martin outduels Bagnaia as Ducati humbles its MotoGP rivals

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Jorge Martin fought off Ducati stablemate Pecco Bagnaia in an exhilarating battle for German Grand Prix victory, as the Italian brand humiliated its MotoGP rivals.

Marc Marquez, who is yet to lose a full-length MotoGP contest he’s started at the Sachsenring, was sidelined by a Sunday morning crash – his fifth of the weekend – but all the evidence suggested he would’ve been powerless to oppose the Ducati armada.

All eight of the Bologna bikes finished, and all eight of them did so in the top nine, with a 1-2-3-4-5 lockout out front.

Predictably, KTM’s Jack Miller again converted a front-row start into the lead off the line, this time doing it with even more margin and closing the door to any potential Bagnaia counter-attack through Turn 2.

Yet when Miller came through the Waterfall corner further into the lap he had to catch a massive rear slide, and the loss of momentum dropped him all the way down to fourth coming through the Sachsen Kurve.

But the way it shook out also meant that Martin, fourth after the start, picked off not just Miller but Luca Marini coming into Turn 12, finding himself behind Bagnaia again.

And once again an overtake followed, Martin picking his way past Bagnaia at the penultimate corner on the third lap and using the next lap in clean air to break away by over six tenths of a second.

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But, unlike on Saturday, the breakaway abated there, Bagnaia stabilising the gap at six tenths and closing back in on Martin around the halfway point of the 30-lapper.

His first round of pressure on Martin didn’t yield an overtake, and a gap was briefly restored, but Bagnaia closed back in on Martin and finally pounced coming out of Waterfall with eight laps left to run.

Yet Martin stayed with him, and repaid the favour with a near-identical move three laps later.

Again, this was not decisive. On the fourth-to-last lap, Bagnaia lined up another Waterfall move but had the door closed on him by Martin. He then tried lining up a move coming out of the final corner at the end of the penultimate lap, but tagged the rear of Martin’s bike with his front, giving the Pramac man breathing room.

Despite this, however, Bagnaia got back close enough to challenge, trying to take advantage of an ultra-defensive line from Martin into the final corner to get a better run to the line, but ultimately coming up 0.064s short.

It means the pair are now split by just 16 points in the standings.

Martin’s Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco was left to recover from a less-than-ideal opening lap early on, having dropped to eighth, but he had the pace to make it happen.

But him completing the podium was aided by KTM’s Brad Binder – who had worked his way through Miller and then Marini – failing to get his bike stopped at Turn 8 and crashing hard once it arrived into the gravel. The KTM man has gone to the medical centre for a check-up in the aftermath, clearly winded by the accident.

Zarco, who now has 19 MotoGP podiums to his name even as the top spot continues to elude him, came perilously close to tucking the front at the treacherous first corner on the final lap.

Like he did on Saturday, Marini ultimately faded, letting through not just Zarco but VR46 team-mate Marco Bezzecchi – but he did fight off Miller in the end to claim fifth place.

Alex Marquez (Gresini), Enea Bastianini (works Ducati) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini) were the last of the Ducatis and completed the top nine.

The only other non-Ducati rider besides Miller in the top 10 was Miguel Oliveira, the RNF Aprilia rider still recovering from his injury but managing to hang on to the position over Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez.

It was another horrid showing by Yamaha, with Franco Morbidelli 12th and Fabio Quartararo 13th. Quartararo was one of two riders to use the soft rear tyre rather than the medium rear, and it arguably worked better for him than Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

Espargaro had made early progress but only went backwards from then on, eventually finishing three seconds out of the points.

The top 15 was instead completed by the sole Honda representative in the race – LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami – and RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez.

Tech3 Gas Gas stand-in Jonas Folger finished a distant 17th and last on home soil, but may yet get another outing – with doubts over whether Pol Espargaro will be fit to take his seat at Assen before the summer break.

While Binder was the only rider to crash, Maverick Vinales joined him among those to retire. The Aprilia man’s woeful weekend was capped off with a smoky failure on his RS-GP, which he brought dejectedly into the pits.

Ducati riders now lock out the top four in the championship, with the best of its rivals – Binder – 64 points down on Bagnaia.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 30 25 40m52.449s 1m21.3s 0 25
2 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 30 5 +0.064s 1m21.256s 0 20
3 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 30 0 +7.013s 1m21.225s 0 16
4 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 30 0 +8.43s 1m21.411s 0 13
5 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 30 0 +11.679s 1m21.415s 0 11
6 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 30 0 +11.904s 1m21.515s 0 10
7 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 30 0 +14.04s 1m21.764s 0 9
8 Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 30 0 +14.859s 1m21.824s 0 8
9 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 30 0 +17.061s 1m21.673s 0 7
10 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 30 0 +19.648s 1m21.856s 0 6
11 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 30 0 +19.997s 1m21.859s 0 5
12 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 30 0 +22.949s 1m21.998s 0 4
13 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 30 0 +25.117s 1m21.884s 0 3
14 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 30 0 +25.327s 1m21.95s 0 2
15 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 30 0 +25.503s 1m21.93s 0 1
16 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia 30 0 +28.543s 1m21.753s 0 0
17 Jonas Folger GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 30 0 +48.962s 1m22.655s 0 0
Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 18 0 DNF 1m21.344s 0 0
Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia 8 0 DNF 1m22.169s 0 0
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