German GP Preview: A very French battle in traditional Márquez territory

After a two-week rest, MotoGP resumes its European tour this weekend (June 18-20) with the eighth stop of the season, the German GP. The Sachsenring will host a new chapter in the battle for the leadership between French pilots Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing Ducati), currently fourteen points apart in the standings.   

 In Catalonia, ‘El Diablo’ was prevented from snatching another podium after his leather suit split open mid-race. The incident with his attire now forgotten, he arrives in Germany as the enemy to beat. Quartararo will be chasing his fourth win (Qatar 2Portugal  & Italy) and/or fifth podium of the year this weekend. 

Top on his mind is opening ground with Johann Zarco, who is getting dangerously close. Yamaha’s last victory at the Saxon racetrack dates from 2009 (Valentino Rossi) but is also true that the M1 has made the podium regularly in recent years.

Additionally, the machine from Iwata has, in the hands of Fabio, demonstrated to be the most competitive of the grid this 2021, conquering three in seven races as his team-mate Maverick Viñales won at Qatar GP

Zarco threatens Quartararo’s lead  

Johann Zarco arrives at the German GP in great spirits after taking his fourth podium of the year in Barcelona. His consistency has earned him second place in the standings with 101 points against Quartararo’s 115. 

An (unlikely) mistake by his Yamaha enemy coupled with a great performance of his own could prop him up to the lead of the Championship. The Ducati machine, however, does not tend to do well at the Sachsenring, where it hasn’t won since 2008 (Casey Stoner). On top of that, Zarco will be hunted by the memory of his crash here in 2019. 

KTM, Oliveira and their miraculous comeback 

Starting on the Friday rounds, KTM is sure to attract a lot of attention. Their performance leap of the last two rounds has brought them back to play the leading role they had lost at the start of the campaign. 

Miguel Oliveira’s second place in Mugello and his victory in Barcelona have raised KTM’s stakes back to their former level. If all goes well, Oliveira’s South African teammate, Brad Binder, should be able to follow in the footsteps of his ‘head of ranks’ at the German GP. 

Could Ducati break to the top in Germany? 

Four rounds into the season and Ducati’s official pilot, Jack Miller already had his third podium of the year in Catalonia following his two victories at Spanish GP & French GP. With 90 points, he is theoretically only one race away from the top. His trajectory means we can expect him to be part of the leading group next Sunday. 

His teammate Pecco Bagnaia, on the other hand, has only achieved one podium this year although he holds fourth place in the standings with 88 points, just two below Miller. They will both come head-to-head in a track where the red bullets have only managed two podiums in the last decade. 

Suzuki: The current champion must react  

Álex Rins, who was absent from the Catalan GP due to an arm fracture, will come back for the German GP. The pilot from Barcelona might not be able to give 100 per cent following his operation, but at least he must break his dreadful four-consecutive-falls streak. Joan Mir, meanwhile, has only won two podiums, not a lot for a champion who wants to defend his crown. He is already 47 points behind the leader. 

Marc Márquez & his favourite circuit

Last but not least, a quick reminder of the fact that Marc Márquez has won every single GP of the last decade at the Sachsenring. His reign over the German track, however, is most likely gonna end this weekend given he is immersed in the worst crisis in Honda’s history. His rebellious and underperforming RC213V has knocked him to the ground in the last three races. 

Images of German GP: MotoGP.

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