Quartararo approaches Sachsenring with caution

·3-min read
'Not my best track': Fabio Quartararo crashed during the last MotoGP at the Sachsenring in 2019

MotoGP returns to Germany after a year's absence with championship leader Fabio Quartararo trying to break one streak at the Sachsenring while Marc Marquez attempts to keep another alive.

Before last season, when the German leg of championship was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, and his campaign was ended by a first race crash, Marquez had won at the Sachsenring every year since 2010.

That streak, which started in 125cc, includes seven straight victories in the elite category to 2019.

The much-younger Quartararo, meanwhile, has never won at the Sachsenring in five total races in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP.

"This is not my best track," the Frenchman told his Yamaha team's web site.

"I'm looking forward to start riding here anyway. We have had good pace all season so far, so I'm happy with that, and I hope to be able to get a good result this weekend."

Before fracturing his right arm last year Marquez had won six MotoGP world titles including four straight.

The 28-year-old Spaniard has struggled since his return this season and has had to watch the 22-year-old Quartararo's steady rise to a position of dominance.

However, the Spaniard may be sensing that the moment has come to make his presence felt again, not least because the German course lay-out will suit him.

"I will have less or no physical limitation, because in the turns to the left, I do not feel any discomfort, unlike those on the right, but here there are only three on the right," said Marquez on Thursday, adding that he is now taking fewer antibiotics and feeling "better and better physically".

Quartararo has won six GPs in three seasons in the elite category and, with three this season, leads the championship while Marquez, after a string of crashes on his Honda, is 18th.

The Frenchman, though, also believes that Marquez may be on the road to recovery.

"I think he will respond this weekend," said Quartararo. "It's the perfect time to make a comeback."

- 'Calma! Calma!' -

Quartararo, who suffered a late-race mishap with his leather jacket in Catalonia and earned a penalty which dropped him to sixth, is being pursued by a pack of Ducatis.

Compatriot Johann Zarco, who rides for the Pramac satellite team, is 14 points behind even though he is still chasing his first ever victory in MotoGP.

The two factory Ducatis of Australian Jack Miller and Italian Francesco Bagnaia are closely bunched in third and fourth.

The Sachsenring does not appear to suit the bikes known as 'Bologna Bullets'.

"It's a very peculiar track, and it's also one of the shortest on the calendar," said Miller. "Ducati isn't one of the favourites at this circuit, but this year we've managed to be competitive even on tracks that should have been difficult for us."

The German Grand Prix is followed immediately by the Dutch race the following Sunday before MotoGP breaks.

It returns in August with back-to-back races at Spielberg, the home track of Austrian team KTM which has found form in the last two races.

After a slow start to the season, KTM changed its chassis and its fuel and its Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira finished second in Italy and then won in Catalonia to climb to seventh in the standings.

Oliveira imitated Cristiano Ronaldo's "Calma! Calma! I am here" gesture when crossing the line in Catalonia, drawing appreciation from the Portuguese Euro 2020 captain's various social media accounts.

Joan Mir, who won last year's world title for Suzuki with only one victory, is continuing his strategy of consistency and lies fifth in the standings.

The weather, which promises to be hot and humid interrupted by summer storms, is causing some concern.

There are also worries about 42-year-old MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi who has not finished better than 10th and is having his worst season at elite level.


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