Am Sachsenring, Germany - Reigning champion Marc Marquez took an incredible eighth consecutive German motorcycle Grand Prix victory from an eighth pole position, extending his run from the 125 world championship to another year of the premier class, and moving to the top of the championship standings.
Both Binder brothers from Gauteng did South Africa proud in Saxony, with big brother Brad finishing seventh in Moto2 - his best result of the season so far - and younger sibling Darryn a hard-fought 10th in Moto3, having run as high as sixth at one point.
Marquez took the lead into Turn 1 from pole, with factory Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa slotting into second as Ducati Team rider Jorge Lorenzo sliced through from sixth on the grid to third, pushing Ducati privateer Danilo Petrucci and local hero Jonas Folger (Yamaha Tech 3) back.
The works Hondas began to pull away in the lead as Folger charged through to get himself into third - and then started threatening the two riders ahead of him. Choosing his moment, the German rookie then took Pedrosa and prepared to attack Marquez, pushing through soon after at lap record pace.
Further back, Petrucci was through on Lorenzo into fourth, and it was the ‘Doctor’ Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who struck next, disputing fourth with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and Petrucci, as Pedrosa began to drop back from the lead duo.
Then Folger ran wide; Marquez took the opportunity to dive through into the lead but couldn’t shake him, and that’s the way it stayed - with Marquez’ pit board showing +0.1 lap after lap. Folger kept calm under incredible pressure, and even created some himself, until a small mistake saw him run very deep, allowing Marquez to stretch his lead to a little more than three seconds at the flag.
Folger kept it safe over the final laps for his first premier-class podium, sealing the deal on an incredible performance at his home race, while Pedrosa completed the top three after a lonely ride in the latter stages. Rossi found his fourth place under attack from Dovizioso, with Yamaha team-mate Maverick Viñales joining the fight and Ducati privateer Alvaro Bautista adding more spice to the mix.
After some stunning wheel-to-wheel action, Viñales took fourth (just) from Rossi, ahead of Bautista, Aleix Espargaro on the works Aprilia, Dovizioso (who was leading the championship before the race but dropped to third after Germany), Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech 3), who put in an incredible ride from 19th on the grid, with Honda privateer Cal Crutchlow completing the top 10.
Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) took another impressive win under intense pressure, first from key title rival Thomas Luthi (Kalex) and then from a charging Miguel Oliveira (KTM).
Alex Marquez (Kalex) took the hole shot from second on the grid, muscling out team-mate Morbidelli into Turn 1, but Luthi was the big winner off the line, putting in a storming first lap to take the lead into the first corner of lap two. Then Morbidelli relegated his team-mate to third as Sandro Cortese (Suter) hung on to the leading trio.
A crash for Hector Garzo (Tech 3) was followed by another for Andrea Locatelli (Kalex) at the same corner, heralding drama at the front as Marquez hit the gravel, leaving Lüthi and Morbidelli clear in a duel for the lead.
Miguel Oliveira was next on the move as he began to hone in on Cortese, breaking free of the battle behind between Simone Corsi (Speed Up), Mattia Pasini (Kalex) and Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) to pass Cortese for third.
Morbidelli grabbed the lead, with Luthi all over him like a rash until he suddenly slid out at Turn 12, ending his race and giving the standings an instant shake up. That left Oliveira with a clear target ahead on the road as the KTM rider started to eat into Morbidelli’s lead, and the battle for the third became a three-way fight between Corsi, Bagnaia and Pasini.
Oliveira showed Morbidelli a wheel on a number of occasions, and then struck at the end of the penultimate lap. Morbidelli came right hit back, however, and managed to keep the door firmly closed around the final lap. They went into the final corner almost side by side but it was the championship leader who took the win by just 0.066s.
Behind Oliveira’s stunning charge into second, Bagnaia got the best of the battle for the final podium spot – the third of his rookine year in the class – followed by Corsi and former professional boxer Mattia Pasini (Kalex), while Jorge Navarro (Kalex) held off an impressive charge from Brad Binder on the second works KTM.
Cortese came home eighth after dropping back slightly in the latter stages, with team-mate Marcel Schrotter taking ninth at their home circuit, and Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the top 10 on a Kalex. But even then the drama wasn’t finished as the scrutineers later found non-specification oil in Pasini’s Kalex and excluded him from the results, moving everybody behind Corse up a place and promoting Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin into 10th.
Championship leader Joan Mir (Honda) took a hard-earned victory at the Sachsenring, making his move on the final lap to hold it over the line after a three-way fight for the win. Romano Fenati (Honda) took second, with Marcos Ramirez (KTM) completing the top three for his first Grand Prix podium finish.
Mir got away in the lead after a good start from the front row, with Ramirez chasing him down and soon striking to take over in the lead. Fenati then slotted into third, with rookie Tony Arbolino (Honda) staying up in the fight - and polesitter Aron Canet (Honda) losing out most in the opening laps, dropping a number of positions.
As the race settled into a rhythm, a front group of five saw Mir, Fenati and Ramirez just ahead of Arbolino and Nicolo Bulega (KTM), swopping positions on almost every corner but holding a gap to the chasing pack of about four seconds.
As Fenati, Mir and Ramirez put some daylight behind them in the battle for the lead, drama struck for Arbolino as he highsided at Turn 2 to leave Bulega alone on track in fourth.
The fight for fifth - or what became fifth following Arbolino’s crash - was headed by home hero Philipp Oettl (KTM) and stretched all the way back to Mugello winner Andrea Migno (KTM), running 19th in the second group.
By half distance, Oettl had pulled away from those behind to slot into a lonely ride, but came under the threat in the closing stages. Enea Bastiaini (Honda) was only half a second adrift at the line, with Livio Loi (Honda seventh ahead of Bo Bendsneyder (KTM who finished on his KTM this time!),Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) and Darryn Binder (KTM).