MotoGP Round 9: A storm before the calm

The Sachsenring hosts Round 9 as the championship hits the mid-part of the season. Defending Champion Marc Marquez is eager to get back on the bike, despite a short rest. The Repsol Honda man usually does well at this circuit. Since joining the premier class in 2013, Marquez has converted pole position to victory on each of his six visits to the German track.

Team mate Jorge Lorenzi isn’t participating this race as he’s recovering from a crash at the previous GP. HRC test rider Stefan Bradl takes over Lorenzo’s spot. Bradl has twice finished in the top five at the Sachsenring while riding a Honda in 2012 and 2013.

Maverick Vinales who won at the previous GP at Assen intends to keep the momentum going this weekend. Vinales has had a podium here as many as  three times, in lower classes. In MotoGP, he has gotten a podium spot last year for Yamaha. His target for this weekend is a podium at the Sachsenring.

The Doctor Valentino Rossi arrives in Saxony searching for redemption after an unfortunate crash in the Netherlands. He scored a strong second place here last year and is more than starving for a podium finish, again. This weekend the Doctor sets out to secure his fifth MotoGP race win at the German circuit to add to his victories from 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2009. He also stood on the premier class podium in 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2018 for a second place, and in 2013 and 2015, having taken third position.

Prior to the race, Ducati MotoGP have signed up Danilo Petrucci for a second term. Petrucci will once again partner Andrea Dovizioso for the new season. His first season with the factory yielded three podium, including a fantastic win at Mugello.

Ducati MotoGP have  scored five podiums in total, the last of which in 2016 with Dovizioso. Last year, moreover, Petrucci led a group of four Ducati riders on the finish line to claim fourth place, just five tenths of a second off the podium. 

Both Ducati riders, who are currently second and third in the championship with 116 and 108 points respectively, are keen to get closer to the top of the standings and finish the first leg of the season positively ahead of a challenging start of the second phase, with three races scheduled in August.

The action at Sachsenring begins today with free practice 1. Lights go out on the 30 lap MotoGP race on Sunday. After that, it’s summer break.