GoPro Grand Prix of Germany 2017
Posted on Jun 27, 2017 by Nick Harris
ROUND NINE 2017 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY 2ND JULY
After a superb fourth place in Assen this weekend Cal Crutchlow makes the short trip to another legendary circuit, the Sachsenring for the ninth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship the GoPro Grand Prix of Germany on Sunday.
The Isle of Man – based Midlander riding the LCR Honda has already finished second on two occasions at the undulating 2.281 mile re-surfaced Sachsenring circuit and is involved in a close battle for seventh place in the Championship. He has just signed a new two year contract with HRC to continue riding for the LCR team and is just two points behind three times MotoGP™ World Champion Jorge Lorenzo in the standings.
Assen was a disaster for the three other British MotoGP riders. Scott Redding, who finished fourth in Germany last year, crashed after a great start. Bradley Smith, who has two sixth places at the Sachsenring, banged his injured little finger when he fell at turn six but will be fit to ride on Sunday. Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes crashed the Gresini Aprilia after qualifying an impressive tenth.
Scotsman John McPhee arrives in Germany brimming with confidence. Despite crashes and poor qualifying he nearly won the Moto3™ race in Assen. He eventually finished third in the race to the line and moved back into fifth place in the championship.
Tarran Mackenzie continues his grand prix education with yet another new circuit to learn in the Moto2™ race.
Did you know?
• The first motorcycle Grand Prix to be held in Germany was the West German Grand Prix held at the Solitude circuit in 1952, when it was reported that 400,000 spectators turned up to watch. Ireland’s Reg Armstrong won the 350cc and 500cc races riding Nortons. The home crowd had plenty to cheer, with Rudi Felgenheier winning the 250cc race on a DKW and Werner Haas winning the 125cc race on a NSU.
• The first East German Grand Prix was held at the Sachsenring road circuit in 1961. The original circuit used for this event was a closed road circuit 8.73km in length. The East German GP continued to be held at the Sachsenring each year until 1972, after which the original road circuit was considered too dangerous for Grand Prix racing.
• The West German Grand Prix was held every year from 1952 through to 1990, when East and West joined to become a unified Germany. Four different circuits were used during this period 1952 to 1990: Solitude, Schotten, Nurburgring and Hockenheim.
• There has been a German Grand Prix held every year since unification; from 1991 to 1994 at the Hockenheim circuit, followed by three years at the Nurburgring and since 1998 at the new Sachsenring circuit.
• In addition to those mentioned above, one other Grand Prix event has been held in Germany: the Baden-Wurtemberg GP held in 1986 at the Hockenheim circuit for just the 80cc and 125cc classes.
• The newly built Sachsenring circuit was initially just 3.508km long with one short section of track from the old road circuit. Major modifications to the circuit in 2001 and then additional slight alterations in 2003 resulted in the current 3.671 km track layout.
• The Sachsenring is one of just five circuits on the current grand prix schedule that run in an anti-clockwise direction, along with Austin, Aragon, Phillip Island and Valencia.
• This will be the 20th successive year that a Grand Prix event has been held at the new Sachsenring circuit.
• Since Grand Prix racing returned to the Sachsenring circuit in 1998 there have been seven podium finishes by home riders: Ralf Waldmann was third in the 250cc race in 1999, Steve Jenkner was third in the 125cc race in 2002, Stefan Bradl finished second in the 125cc category in 2008, Sandro Cortese finished third in the 125cc race in 2010, Stefan Bradl was second in 2011 in Moto2™, in 2012 Sandro Cortese won the Moto3™ race and last year Jonas Folger was 2nd in the Moto2™ race.
• Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP™ class in 2002, Honda have been the most successful manufacturer at the Sachsenring with eleven wins, including the last seven years.
• Yamaha have had three wins at this circuit, the last of which was with Valentino Rossi in 2009.
• Ducati’s single MotoGP™ victory in Germany was with Casey Stoner in 2008. Andrea Doviziosos’s third place finish last year was the first podium for a Ducati rider at the Sachsenring circuit since Casey Stoner was third in 2010.
• The only podium finish for Suzuki in Germany in the MotoGP™era is when Chris Vermeulen finished third in 2008.
• In each of the last four years at the Sachsenring Marc Marquez has qualified on pole in the MotoGP™ class and won the race.
• The rider with most victories at the new Sachsenring circuit is Marc Marquez with seven wins (1 x 125cc, 2 x Moto2, 4 x MotoGP™), followed by Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa with six wins (2x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP™).
• Sachsenring is the only circuit on the 2017 schedule where Honda have won in the MotoGP™ class for each of the last seven years.
• The Moto2™ race winner in Germany last year, Johann Zarco, crossed the line just 0.059 seconds ahead of second place finisher Jonas Folger – the closest finish in a full-length Moto2 race since the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2010.
• The five Moto3™ races at the Sachsenring have been won by five different riders: Sandro Cortese, Alex Rins, Jack Miller, Danny Kent and Khairul Idham Pawi.
Can anybody break the Marquez Honda iron grip in Germany?
Honda rule at the Sachsenring – they have won the last seven MotoGP™ races at the 2.281 miles track and World Champion Marc Marquez has won on his last seven appearances at this legendary venue, but it could be different on Sunday at the GoPro Grand Prix of Germany as this incredible MotoGP season reaches the half way stage.
With just 11 points separating the first four riders in the championship Marquez comes under incredible pressure to make it eight straight victories. Andrea Dovizioso leads the MotoGP World Championship for the very first time after finishing fifth on the factory Ducati in the previous round at Assen. He had won the two previous grands prix and when season long championship leader Maverick Vinales crashed out he took over at the front, but it’s tight. Valentino Rossi grabbed his 115th grand prix win in Assen and is right back in contention riding the Movistar Yamaha. He took over third place just seven points behind Dovizioso and three behind Vinales. Marquez riding the Repsol Honda was third and is right back in the hunt just 11 points down on the leader.
There will be other challengers in the 30 lap race around the re-surfaced Sachsenring. Italian Danilo Petrucci has finished on the podium twice in the last three races and pushed Rossi really hard on Sunday riding the Octo Pramac Ducati. Frenchman Johann Zarco is having a superb MotoGP debut season and took his first pole in Assen. His Monster Tech3 team-mate Jonas Folger crashed in Assen but at his home track he will be a threat after an equally impressive MotoGP debut season, while Dani Pedrosa has six Sachsenring victories including four in MotoGP.
Mika Kallio will join Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro in the KTM team.
Italian Franco Morbidelli did his Moto2™ Championship chances a power of good before he departs to MotoGP with his fifth win of the season. The Marc VDS rider opened up a 12 point advantage over Tom Luthi, with Alex Marquez a further 23 points adrift.
Despite only finishing ninth in Assen, Spanish Leopard Honda rider Joan Mir still leads the Moto3™ championship by 30 points although second placed Aaron Canet is on the charge. The Spanish teenager won his second grand prix in Assen after another staggering Moto3™ encounter. Romano Fenati, who finished second in Assen, is just two points behind Canet while John McPhee moved up to fifth in the championship after finishing in third.
BT Sport 2
Friday 30th June 8.00am – 15.00pm
Saturday 1st July 8.00am – 15.15pm
Sunday 2nd July 7.30am – 15.00pm
Channel 5 Highlights
Monday 3rd July 19.00pm
Live commentary of the race on Sunday