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eni Grand Prix of Germany


Another brilliant and brave ride gave Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow his fourth podium finish of the season at the eni German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring on Sunday. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider once again fought through the pain barrier after his two big Friday crashes as he chased down winner Marc Marquez in the 30 lap race round the 2.281 miles circuit. In the end he had to settle for second place in front of nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi.

It was a great day for the Tech 3 Yamaha team with Crutchlow’s team-mate Bradley Smith producing his best ride in his Rookie MotoGP season when he finished sixth just 25 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez. Ulsterman Michael Laverty produced a superb display on his Sachsenring debut riding the Paul Bird Motorsport machine. He finally finished just out of the points in 16th place.

It was a case of damage limitation for Moto2™ Championship leader Scott Redding. The Gloucestershire rider rode into seventh place in the 29 lap race on the Marc VDS machine but still leads the championship by 23 points after his nearest challenger Pol Espargaro was third. Both Danny Kent and Kyle Smith crashed out while in the Moto3™ race birthday boy Scotsman John McPhee ran off the track in the early stages but fought back to finish 23rd.

Marquez wins in Germany to take championship lead

Marc Marquez has won the eni Grand Prix of Germany, picking up his second MotoGP™ victory and seventh podium finish from eight races. In the absence of both Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, the same three riders were on the podium as at the Dutch TT, with Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi finishing second and third.

The Sachsenring delivered another highly dramatic weekend, not least as numerous riders have suffered crashes across the three days. Crutchlow was one of them, heading into the race with injuries to his arms, hands and left leg, but heavy impacts for World Champion Lorenzo and erstwhile championship leader Pedrosa left both on the sidelines; the Yamaha Factory Racing rider bent the titanium plate in his shoulder, while the Repsol Honda Team rider sustained a small fracture, also to the left collarbone.

With both of his major rivals out of contention, Marquez – starting on his third pole position of the season – knew that a second race win (after Austin, Texas) would allow him to snatch back the advantage in the title race. A poor start saw the 20-year-old rookie drop to fourth place, but he picked off those ahead of him one by one and took the lead from home rider Stefan Bradl at the end of the sixth lap. Once Crutchlow took second, the Spaniard would manage the gap and win by 1.5 seconds.

Crutchlow’s own race started from second. Fighting the pain of his injuries after two large accidents on Friday, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider dispatched of Alvaro Bautista and Bradl and stole second from Valentino Rossi in a strong move at Sachsen Kurve on Lap 16. He then looked to threaten for a career-first victory, but Marquez had been looking after his tyres and was able to comfortable control the gap until the end of the 30th and final lap; nevertheless, Crutchlow becomes the first British rider since Barry Sheene in 1982 to collect four podium finishes in one season.

Having returned to winning ways at Assen two weeks ago, Rossi has now claimed consecutive rostrum placings. From his first front row start since the Portuguese Grand Prix of 2010, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider seized the lead as the red lights went out. He proceeded to battle with local favourite Bradl but was overhauled by eventual winner Marquez on Lap 5. Three laps later, Rossi passed the German to go second, but then fell back to the final podium spot when Crutchlow steamed ahead.

Bradl’s fourth place finish for LCR Honda MotoGP may have meant that he has still missed out on the podium, but the German has again equalled his career-best result. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista completed the top five from eighth on the grid, while Tech 3’s Bradley Smith ended his day sixth - confirming two British riders in the top six of a race for the first time in two decades - from the impressive Aleix Espargaro; from fifth on the grid, the Power Electronics Aspar rider rode his CRT-specification bike in as high as third place before feeling the wrath of the prototypes.

Further down the order, the final points went to 13th-placed Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and the two riders who a day earlier had passed through to the Q2 shootout from Q1, with Danilo Petrucci and Claudio Corti 14th and 15th for Came IodaRacing Project and NGM Mobile Forward Racing, respectively. Two riders failed to see the end of the race, as there were crashes for both PBM’s Yonny Hernandez and Gresini’s Bryan Staring.

Round 9 of 18, the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, will be staged at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend. This, the second leg of the first double-header this year, will bring the curtain down on the first half of MotoGP™ 2013. Marquez now carries a two-point championship lead over Pedrosa, with Lorenzo 11 behind the leader.

Torres celebrates career-first win at Sachsenring

Jordi Torres has taken his maiden career victory in the Moto2™ eni Grand Prix of Germany, becoming the fifth different rider to win in the intermediate class this year. Simone Corsi beat Pol Espargaro to second, championship leader Scott Redding was seventh and Xavier Simeon fell to ninth place from pole.

On Saturday, Torres was narrowly beaten to the top grid position as Simeon claimed his career-first pole position for Desguaces La Torre Maptaq. Torres (Aspar Team Moto2) would start second, while from the front row Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40) aimed to make the most of an eighth-placed start for chief rival Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team).

Espargaro immediately seized the lead off the start line and would hold the advantage until Lap 19, when Torres – who maintained a consistent pace over the full 29-lap distance – dived through at the Sachsen Kurve. Behind the leading duo, Simone Corsi kept a watching brief and opportunistically overtook Espargaro for second place on the final lap; this capped off his first rostrum for almost two years. Despite dropping back another position, Espargaro finished four positions in front of Redding.

Fourth place went to Italtrans Racing Team’s Julian Simon, while multiple Sachsenring podium finisher Alex de Angelis put on a charge in the second half of the Grand Prix to finish inside the top five for NGM Mobile Forward Racing, overhauling Tom Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing) and championship leader Redding, who endures his worst result of 2013 thus far. Pole man Simeon could not demonstrate such strong race pace and finished 12.8 seconds behind the winner.

Six riders failed to make the finish. Tech 3’s Danny Kent and TargoBank Motorsport wildcard Alex Mariñelarena departed the race early, with the Spaniard sustaining a contusion to the left knee. Blusens Avintia’s Kyle Smith was next to fall, soon joined on the sidelines by Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrotter. Argiñano & Gines Racing’s Roman Ramos (covering for Alberto Moncayo, who was injured in a training accident) retired into the pit lane and while winner Torres’ teammate Jordi Terol crashed out in the closing stages of the race.

Heading into the summer break, Redding continues to top the standings (143 points), although Espargaro (120) has reduced the gap from 30 to 23. Espargaro’s teammate Tito Rabat (88) has lost ground, having scored only two points for 14th place on Sunday. Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese picked up the final point for Dynavolt Intact GP, while one standout performance came from QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West who rose to eighth from 16th on the grid.

Sunday’s result marks the first time in 2013 that three different makes of Moto2™ chassis – Suter, Speed Up and Kalex – have shared the podium. The action will continue with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in mid-August.

Rins beats Salom after last-lap pass

Alex Rins has won the Moto3™ eni Grand Prix of Germany from pole position, overhauling championship leader Luis Salom at the penultimate corner of the race. Maverick Viñales, who also battled for the lead throughout, was third to ensure that the top three riders in the championship filled the podium places.

On Saturday at the Sachsenring, Rins has picked up his third pole position of the season for Estrella Galicia 0,0 and was highly keen to place himself back in the championship fight following a costly retirement at Jerez earlier in the season.

Rins led from pole, but after an entertaining battle with Viñales elected to yield the lead to the Team Calvo rider. The order would continue to change between the duo, until Lap 24 when Viñales took the advantage after Rins ran wide, only for Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom – who had typically waited patiently in third position – to seize the advantage in an impressive double overtaking manoeuvre at Sachsen Kurve.

Following Salom’s move, Rins crucially passed Viñales into the final bend which allowed him three laps to hunt down the new leader. The margin was three tenths of a second at the start of the last lap, but Rins bravely dived up the inside of the penultimate corner to seal his second victory after Austin, Texas while the leading trio crossed the finish line separated by only two and a half tenths of a second.

In fourth position, Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira overhauled Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez in the closing stages, with the latter having made a charge in the second half of the race. Efren Vazquez was sixth on the second Mahindra, while Jack Miller was disappointed to finish seventh for Caretta Technology – RTG, having started fifth on the grid. The top eight was rounded out by equally disappointed home rider Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3), who had been fourth on the grid.

Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou did not make the start following a problem in the Warm-Up, whereas four riders crashed out of the race. An early mistake by wildcard rider Kevin Hanus (Thomas Sabo GP Team) saw him collect Eric Granado (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3), whereas wildcard Luca Amato (Mahindra Spiel-Kiste) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3) made mistakes of their own.

Sunday’s result sees Salom retain his championship lead (172 points), with Viñales remaining second (158). Race winner Rins (142) has now moved closer to second place overall as 30 points cover the top three. Moto3™ now takes a break of one month before returning for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on 18 August.

Nick Harris Media

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