HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, Germany: Reigning world MotoGP champion Marc Marquez stormed to his eighth consecutive German Grand Prix win on Sunday (Jul 2) to snatch the overall championship lead.
The Spaniard held off a spirited challenge from home favourite Jonas Folger to claim his second win of the season after starting from pole position.
German rookie Folger produced a stunning ride for Yamaha’s satellite team to claim his maiden podium finish, as Marquez’s Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa came home in third.
Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso went into the race at the top of the standings, but finished down in eighth place to slip to third overall.
Marquez, who was fourth going into the day, now leads the championship by five points from Maverick Vinales, with Dovizioso a point further back in third.
“It was a really fast race. The rhythm was incredible. I was riding really good but I saw Jonas overtook me,” Marquez said. “Leading the championship is something I couldn’t believe. We are doing a really good championship.”
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi showed good form to back up his first win of the season last time out in Assen by finishing fifth behind Vinales, but the Italian still dropped to fourth overall.
Folger thrilled the home crowd in the opening stages by passing Pedrosa and Marquez to take a shock lead on his Yamaha Tech3 after qualifying in third.
He maintained the lead for a few laps before Marquez retook control.
The 24-year-old was made to work hard by Folger, but pulled away in the last two laps to win by 3.310 seconds.
“I don’t know what to say. I never expected this. I was really strong and could follow Marc,” said Folger. “I burned the tyre. I couldn’t match him at the end. I thought I could beat him but two laps at the end the tyre was gone. I’m so happy.”
Marquez, having taken his eighth straight Sachsenring pole on Saturday, has now won eight races in a row at the circuit across the three classes.
With the season at its halfway stage, the five-time world champion is poised to claim his fourth MotoGP crown in just five years.
But this is one of the tightest title races in history, with just 10 points separating leader Marquez from fourth-placed Rossi.
Yamaha’s Rossi did well to make up four places having started from ninth on the grid, although he couldn’t find a way past his team-mate Vinales.
Ducati, who went five years without a podium finish in Germany until Dovizioso came third last season, struggled again and Dovizioso had to dig deep to hold off last year’s Moto2 champion Johann Zarco for eighth.