2009 Sachsenring 250cc Race Result - Lead Held To Line Despite Desperate Chase

Race result and summary of the 250cc German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:

Marco Simoncelli won a rain-shortened 250cc race at the Sachsenring, but his victory didn't come easy. The Italian led away from the line at the first time of asking, but rain started falling almost the moment the bikes left the line, and after Jules Cluzel crashed heavily at the fast and frightening Turn 11, the race was red-flagged, rescheduled, and shortened from 29 to 19 laps.

At the second time of asking, it was Alex Debon who got the jump, leading by nearly a second and half by the end of the first lap, but after fighting his way through to 2nd on the opening lap, Simoncelli started the difficult business of chasing the Spanish veteran down. It took Simoncelli until lap 6 to catch Debon, but the Spaniard used some wily tricks - including putting a backmarker between himself and the Italian - to hold off the inevitable. It worked for two laps, but on lap 8, Simoncelli was past going into Turn 1. Though Simoncelli was past, he could not drop Debon, and the two stayed together all the way to the line, Simoncelli prevailing over Debon.

Marco Simoncelli at the Sachsenring

Once again the excitement was over 3rd place, which developed into a battle royal between Alvaro Bautista, Hiroshi Aoyama, Hector Barbera, Hector Faubel and Mike di Meglio. Faubel and Aoyama had the early running, but Bautista, Barbera, di Meglio and Mattia Pasini soon caught the pair, despite Barbera and Bautista squabbling over the chase. 

Di Meglio and Pasini did not survive the chase, both crashing out round the last part of the track, though on different laps. Aoyama had passed Faubel on lap 4, but Faubel had hung on, though once Barbera and Bautista arrived they were soon past him. It was clear that the Aprilias of the two Spaniards had a speed advantage over Aoyama's Honda, but the Honda put on a masterful display of holding off riders on superior equipment.

For the last 7 laps, Barbera and Bautista dropped down the hill, drawing level with Aoyama going into Turn 12, but each time, Aoyama either held them off, or slipped back underneath on the exit of the corner. Bautista tried at Turn 13, the final corner, but Aoyama pulled exactly the same trick there. The Scot Honda rider's resistance lasted until the final lap, when Bautista shot underneath him going into Turn 1, and Aoyama had no way of getting it back. 

The scrap for 3rd had brought the group close to Simoncelli and Debon, but in the end, they were not quite close enough for Bautista to attempt a pass for 2nd. But the 3 extra points Bautista scored for 3rd allowed him to narrow the gap in the championship with Aoyama to just 10 points.


Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 58 Marco SIMONCELLI GILERA 27'11.034  
2 6 Alex DEBON APRILIA 27'11.513 0.479
3 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA APRILIA 27'11.562 0.528
4 4 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 27'11.900 0.866
5 40 Hector BARBERA APRILIA 27'12.294 1.260
6 55 Hector FAUBEL HONDA 27'17.006 5.972
7 41 Aleix ESPARGARO APRILIA 27'19.755 8.721
8 12 Thomas LUTHI APRILIA 27'19.796 8.762
9 35 Raffaele DEROSA HONDA 27'30.210 19.176
10 15 Roberto LOCATELLI GILERA 27'38.984 27.950
11 25 Alex BALDOLINI APRILIA 27'40.635 29.601
12 52 Lukas PESEK APRILIA 27'49.333 38.299
13 48 Shoya TOMIZAWA HONDA 28'02.974 51.940
14 16 Jules CLUZEL APRILIA 28'03.953 52.919
15 8 Bastien CHESAUX HONDA 28'17.820 1'06.786
16 7 Axel PONS APRILIA 28'31.607 1'20.573
17 54 Toby MARKHAM APRILIA 27'17.661 1 lap
18 10 Imre TOTH APRILIA 27'20.889 1 lap
19 66 Joakim STENSMO HONDA 28'09.860 2 laps
20 53 Valentin DEBISE HONDA 28'03.839 4 laps
Not Classified
  75 Mattia PASINI APRILIA 22'57.030 3 laps
  63 Mike DIMEGLIO APRILIA 23'58.754 3 laps
  17 Karel ABRAHAM APRILIA 12'46.672 11 laps
Not starting
  14 Ratthapark WILAIROT HONDA    
Not finished first lap
  56 Vladimir LEONOV APRILIA    
Round Number: 
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Sorry to be fussy, but Bautista was in Aoyama's slipstream on the straight and not able to get next to him, let alone pass him. The speed advantage is not that big anymore (at least not in this circuit) and I don't quite believe in the "insanely superior Aprilia machinery" story anymore. The difference has gotten a lot smaller and Aoyama didn't look really comfortable on the Sachsenring all weekend, this is not just down to machinery, especially since Sachsenring is supposed to be a Honda-favouring track. Aoyama is definitely a great rider, but when Aprilias pass him it might not always just be due to the bikes, the guys sitting on those are not only Aprilia-bought puppets.

You are of course right, for the most part. The Aprilia is definitely still faster than the Honda, but the difference is vastly reduced from, say, 2007. What was clear was that the Aprilias had the advantage down the back straight, but part of that is due to the Sachsenring itself: It's possible to launch yourself out of the slipstream and past into Turn 12 down the back straight, and even a small advantage can make the difference between getting past or not. My point was mainly that Aoyama's defensive work was brilliant, constantly holding the better line on the exit of the corner, immediately taking back the position he had just lost on corner entry.

The reason for the lack of subtlety is that the race summaries are written in a very short period, at the same time as fomatting race results and championship standings, while waiting for the MotoGP race to start. The lack of time in which to achieve this means that the finer points get glossed over. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that the Aprilia riders were puppets, indeed, the fact that Bautista got past the brilliant defense of Aoyama while Barbera couldn't speaks volumes about the qualities of Bautista, and the importance of the rider.

Agreed and agreed.

I just had to comment on this, because I prefer reading the reviews on this site to pretty much every other MotoGP website, simply because the race reports and analyses are always very good and well written and also consider the fine nuances of a race which other writers overlook, so this bit kinda screamed at me, because it's repeated over and over again (even in exaggerated form) everywhere else and it surprised me to read it here. It's still a great review though, even when written in a hurry. :)

Aoyama is truly a beast on the brakes and excellent in the defense of his positions and I was very impressed when Bautista finally managed to pass him and hold the advantage, because it didn't look like he could in the previous laps and races like Jerez showed how extremely difficult it is for him to get past Aoyama and stay in front, so I rank that pass highly. I probably felt it was a bit under-appreciated with that Aprilia statement, hence my complain. ;)

Any insights as to what happened to Wilairot that he did not start the race after a great performance pre-race? I yet to watch the 250GP race though :)

Yup, finally got to watch the race, it was a nasty highside that took out couple of others.