Chemnitz, Eastern Germany - Championship leader Marc Marquez says he'll use his win in last week's epic Assen Grand Prix as motivation going into Sunday's German Moto GP at the Sachsenring.
The factory Honda rider finished on top of the podium in the Netherlands after an incredible race that saw the first 15 riders cross the line within just 16.043s. It was the closest top-15 finish in Motorcycle Grahnd Prix history, and a timely boost for Marquez.
The Sachsenring is the shortest circuit on the calendar at 3.67km, but it is also tight and twisty, so it could throw up a close finish. What is sure is that Marquez and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa have dominated the German track, a road based circuit near the city of Chemnitz in Eastern Germany. They have won a staggering 14 times between them and stood together on the podium three times, in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Marquez has taken eight consecutive wins across three classes at the German circuit where 10 of its 13 corners are left-handed, each success remarkably coming after starting from pole position. After kicking off in the 125cc category in 2010, he went on to win twice in Moto2 (2011, 2012) and then five times in MotoGP (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Pedrosa's last MotoGP victory here came in 2012, having also won in 2007, 2010 and 2011.
'Weather is crucial'
"The victory we scored at Assen was important," Marquez said, "because it was a race where it was incredibly easy to make a mistake, but instead we were able to increase our advantage in the championship. Now we go to a very different circuit where we're normally very strong, but every year is different."
"Weather could play an important role, as we've seen in the past: if it's rainy or mixed, everything will change very quickly and you must be ready. So we'll see. We'll go there and try to find our level and be strong from the start of the weekend. Then on Sunday we'll try and fight for the podium again."
Pedrosa admitted that the Sachsenring was "a track that I like. In the second part of the race at Assen, we managed to lap at a better pace than we did during the rest of the weekend, so we'll try and build on that at Sachsenring".
Marquez has amassed 140 points from the first eight Grands Prix of the season, with 10 more to be raced after this weekend's outing. In second and third are the Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales (99 and 93 points). Johann Zarco of the Yamaha Tech3 team is fourth on 81 points, just ahead of Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and Honda's Cal Crutchlow (79 each).
Rossi, who was fifth at Assen and is yet to win a Grand Prix this season, has nine podiums at the Sachsenring, including four victories. However, Rossi finished nearly 15 seconds behind Marquez at this circuit in 2017, something he wants to remedy.
"Last year's German GP was not a very positive weekend for us, so it will be very important to understand our potential this weekend," he said. "Assen was an incredible race, so I really want to get back on track again. I don't know if we can repeat a race like that at the Sachsenring, but we'll try to do everything to be at the front with the top riders."
Rossi added: "The race at the Sachsenring is the last race before the short MotoGP summer break, so we want to do our best to make it a good battle on Sunday, to end the first half of the season in a good way."
MotoGP world championships standings ahead of Sunday's German Grand Prix
1 Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda - 140 points
2 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha) - 99
3 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Yamaha) - 93\
4 Johann Zarco (France) Yamaha Tech3 - 81
5 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati - 79
6 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Honda - 79
7 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Ducati - 75
8 Danilo Petrucci (Italy) Ducati - 71
9 Andrea Iannone (Italy) Suzuki - 71
10 Jack Miller (Australia) Ducati - 55