2016 Sachsenring MotoGP Race Result: A Terrific Tale Of Timing And Teamwork

On-and-off rain was the prediction as the riders lined up the grid but the drizzle stopped as the race got underway. The drying track posed a dilemma, the teams and the riders looking for the perfect timing to swap bikes.

The inch-perfect decision was taken by Repsol Honda, the risk of putting Marc Marquez on slick tyres early gaining them a seventh straight victory at the Sachsenring, with almost ten seconds in hand over Cal Crutchlow. The LCR rider broke the heart of fellow Brit Scott Redding by overtaking him on the last lap, with Andrea Dovizioso’s last gasp attack bumping the Pramac rider off the podium.

When Marquez led off the line then got overtaken by Rossi into turn three and started slipping back, it looked like a matter of salvaging points for the world championship leader. But after the heavy fall of the morning and the wrong choice of wet tyre, the Spaniard had to take it easy against the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

Dovizioso made the move on Rossi three laps after the start, the Yamaha rider overtaken by Petrucci three corners later. Pramac’s Italian didn’t sit around and overtook Dovizioso one lap later.

Jack Miller stormed into sixth once the lights went off, taking Hector Barbera then Marquez for fourth but struggling to close down the two-second gap to the three men at the top. Lower down, Dani Pedrosa was slow to make up places at the start but slowly recovered the second separating him from the lead group as he found some heat to feed his tyres. Iannone was his first victim, his Honda teammate two seconds up the road, Marquez losing ground to Barbera meanwhile.

Twenty laps to go, leader Petrucci hit the gravel handing the lead to Dovizioso. Soon after, Marquez followed his example but his touch for miraculous saves kept him upright and the Repsol rider rejoined ninth, behind Iannone.

Seventeen laps to go, the mechanics started to get some action in the pits, Iannone switching to intermediate tyres, hoping to make the most of the dry line appearing. Meanwhile, Barbera dared a move on Rossi and pulled it off into turn one, setting up an unlikely battle for second place. Behind them, Cal Crutchlow was a man on a mission, the first to drop into the 1’34s and doing so consistently.

Thirteen laps to go, Marquez pitted to swap bikes, risking a slick tyre combination that saw him post a string of fastest laps. The activity in the pits was getting frantic but the top five – comprised of Dovizioso, Rossi, Crutchlow, Barbera and Miller - were still out, only blinking with seven laps to go. That late decision proved fatal to Rossi's podium hopes. Miller took a brave decision to stay out even longer but still didn’t escape Marquez’s charge, the Spaniard overtaking him a lap later.

Redding, who also stopped early on, was twenty seconds down on Marquez and fighting off Cal Cruthlow. It proved an unsuccessful mission as both him and Dovizioso went past on the last lap. The Brit finished fourth, ahead of a lonely ride from Iannone, as Pedrosa and Miller overtook a disconsolate Rossi for sixth and seventh.

The only thing that might console him slightly will be seeing his teammate down in fifteenth, Jorge Lorenzo yoyo-ing outside of the top 10 and grabbing the last point on offer, in another weekend to forget for the reigning world champion.

Finally, the sun definitely came out on Honda’s first half of the season, with Marquez extending his winning streak at the Sachsenring, as well as his lead over Lorenzo to 48 points, Rossi a further 11 down. Honda also finds itself 33 points ahead in the teams’ ranking and only 1 point down on Yamaha in the constructors’ championship. After the dizzying events of Sachsenring, many will be welcoming the summer break. Fans apart.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 47'03.239
2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +9.857
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +11.613
4 45 Scott REDDING Ducati +11.992
5 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati +22.755
6 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +25.920
7 43 Jack MILLER Honda +26.043
8 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +26.449
9 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +26.614
10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia +31.274
11 50 Eugene LAVERTY Ducati +41.208
12 25 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki +42.158
13 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha +1'03.129
14 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki +1'06.091
15 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha +1'17.694
16 53 Tito RABAT Honda 1 Lap
17 76 Loris BAZ Ducati 2 Laps
18 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 3 Laps
    Not Classified    
  44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 13 Laps
  9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 18 Laps

 

Round Number: 
9
2016
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Comments

Credit to the MotoGP riders for how few fallers there were compared to the lower classes.

It was dryer for the big bikes but still would have been easy to make a mistake - especially if on full slicks on a narrow dry line.

Even more credit to Marquez for being good enough to deliver on the team's bold choices.

What a topsy turvey race. The track dried up so quickly. I was surprised the lead group stayed out for so long when the others were pitting. There was simply no way those wets were going to hang on until the end.

That's the second time Rossi's got a bike change wrong, like Misano last year and it really cost him. Though his pace wasn't great even after the swap. 8th is a big disappointment. It's been a horrible last two races for Yamaha. Lorenzo is seemingly going through one of the most awful patches of his career. Just absolutely featureless of late.

But what can you say about Marc Marquez. It looked like at one stabe that win record was going to end. But once again like Misano, him and the team made the right call at the right time to pit. And having the confidence to deal with the conditions first two/three laps were key to victory.

His mix of consistency and taking the odd risk has worked perfectly for him. Long way still to go in the season, but it is very much his to lose now.

Great to see Crutchlow back on the podium, and also as well for Dovi after the season he's had. Been a crazy last two races  And now a new track in the shape of Austria to throw into the mix next time out to challenge.

The race for the podium was alright and Marquez was awesome to watch on slick tyres. What a great gamble and what a ride by him. Otherwise it was again a whole lot of waiting until the track dried. Let's hope the rest of the season stays dry, much better racing that way.

Lorenzo should have done the same thing, he has no confidence in the wet tyres anyway so way stay out on them for so long?

Oh and I hope some people have learned now that looking at what Rossi's doing is not the way to win a race these days.

I love it how flag to flag races always throw curveballs and allow me to clearly notice the fast, the lucky and the impecable. Awesome.

Marquez's points lead is incredible. Who would have guessed?

but he has absolutely no one to blame for his Championship woes this season. Two consecutive races, he has let his ego run rampant and it has cost him dearly. He lost his mind at Assen and seemingly decided he could not possibly fall when so many others were, no matter how fast he chose to go...he was wrong...and now in Germany, he has ignored his team('s) advice and determined that he knew better than they(they of the stop watches and video feeds) when he should come in to change bikes....and he was wrong....Sad to see him make such mental mistakes when he is clearly still  fast enough to race with anyone.....As for Marquez, all accolades are deserved......

Just a decision made out of necessity. VR has said it very well post race : after the very poor performance on Friday he knew that cold temperatures/slick tires meant all was lost. Plus he admitted that he is.not very good at bike swapping. In fact he went in with Dovi but when they both exited pit lane Dovi and the other were gone. He lost 10 seconds on that first lap! So part his fault (not able to feel confortable in the switch ) part that M1 as they could not make those tires get on temperature fast enough. So no. No big ego. A very unlucky combination of factors that led to catastrophe. He said it already yesterday: in the cold with slicks he was doomed. When watching the race I thought why he does not get the box and I thought it was a mistake not to warn him immediately of MM pace with slicks. But then what good would have it made? He was not competitive in that particular track condition. Yes MM did a great great job. He was also lucky and said it himself: with the rain he would.have finished very far. But the cold track with slicks favored him. This does not demeanish his accomplishments. But let's admit that he is very good and right now rather lucky. It goes without saying that I know that luck favors the brave.

Rossi has to listen to his crew,and also the choice of intermediate tires was poor. His Championship is pretty much done I fear, second place is realistic but no more. Marc rode a perfect race and in this form deserves his lead. I feel Rossi's pace has been higher at times but he has failed to get results when it mattered. 

First of all, I love the alliteration Zara. Keep it coming :)

Another exciting race.  Full credit to everyone who made it onto the podium (and to many others as well for simply getting through what must have been an anxious race). 

On the other end of the spectrum, can someone please go and give Lorenzo a hug?  I can't think of anything else that might help at the moment. 

Perhaps the decision for Marquez to roll the dice and come in early for a tire change was acatually made a little easier by his off-track excursion and subsequent drop in the running order? Still, his push on his first couple of laps on slicks was amazing.

yeah I'm a bit surprised by remarks of his "gamble." He was dropping like a stone. Plus how was he to know which tires the team would fit?  Now admittedly, he was super brave on the slicks and put in amazing laps to the win, but he wouldn't have come in so early had he not been off-track and losing ground, IMO.

Also strange that Lorenzo didn't come in.

He knew which tyres he would be on because they already had an arrangment in place to ignore the intermediates.  That means he would obviously be on the softer slicks.

... for essentially everyone but Marc and Co. Rossi especially should be kicking himself for such foolishness given his experience and identical mistakes in the past.

How brave of Honda, to make the call early, to go to slicks, and to have faith in the rider.  Who delivered with some blistering laps in the context of the conditions.

Brilliant all the way round.

Some dumb strategising in some of the other pits, where they went to the (largely) unknown Intermediates.

Kudos to strong rides from Marquez, Crutchlow, Dovi, Miller, Petrucci until his skittering. Marquez is so gifted at changing bikes and immediately pushing the new set up right to its limit. He looks like something really special at many moments, and this is one.

Rossi choked. I saw petulance in disregard for his team's BOX sign. He looked absorbed in the race he saw with Dovi et al, but spent several unnecessary laps handing florid amounts of time to Marquez. That dry line was HUGE. At 11 laps to go I was willing Rossi in. At 10 I wondered if he would. At 9 he got signaled in w a BOX. Dumb move Vale.

Am I right that this is the first race w intermediates being used? And who exactly was on them? Wouldn't they be perfect for the conditions?! Sure, they weren't accustomed to them, but wouldn't they be the best fit? The setting can be interpolated well enough. Surprised they didn't work out better. So Rossi was on them, Marquez was not. Crutchlow was not. Dovi was? Perhaps a view that the intermediates were a bad choice only makes sense in the context of how blisteringly fast Marquez was on slicks in mixed drying conditions. He was outstanding.

Suzuki in the wet - why languish? Electronics? I would guess that a good wet weather bike w all its mechanical traction and flickability.

Enjoyed Crutchlow's frank and confident comments after the race. Redemptive finishes allow for frustration to be shared. He can uncork his expressions any time as far as I am concerned. Great ride buddy.

Interesting race!

I found Marc's press conference comments on this topic really interesting. He said that his team all understood that, for them, the intermediates "didn't exist." Marc knows what to expect on the bike--informing his decision on when to come in--and the team don't continually second guess their tire choice. A bit limiting perhaps, but I think it's a fairly elegant solution to a challenge that clearly confounded several of the other teams. Iannone seemed incensed when he registered that his team had fitted him with intermediates.

Interestingly, Dovi and several others rejoined with intermediate fronts and rear slicks. Worked out all right for Dovizioso, but full slicks seems clearly to have been the better choice. 

I wonder if Rossi took the view that going out on slicks (or intermediates as it turned out) too early when he was not confident of their performance in damp, cold conditions, might actually lead to another spill. The wets, while chunking, were still hanging in there, and there were some opportunities to cool them by going offline, notably between T11 and T12.

After Assen another DNF would really hit Rossi's title aspirations. After all to win a championship, you've got to win points. For Marquez with a one race buffer and an obviously struggling main rival, slicks was a gamble well worth making. 

As an aside, apart from looking at the big screen I can't see how Rossi could have known Marquez's times once he was on the slicks. IIRC Rossi's pit crew never notified him, nor would it have been easy to.

 

When I was racing I read Kenny Roberts book. I clearly remember him saying, "Unless there are puddles, a slick is as good as an intermediate." He didn't believe inter's were worth it. From what I could gleen, the only reason folks were considering the inters was that the softest slick was too hard, and the inter gave them a softer option.