THREE things in life are certain: death, taxes, and Marc Marquez winning at the Sachsenring.
The reigning MotoGP world champion extended his incredible streak to nine consecutive wins from nine consecutive pole positions with victory in the German Grand Prix.
Marquez recovered from a slow start to pass Jorge Lorenzo for the lead just prior to the half way point, and the Honda rider was never headed again.
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales rounded out the podium, the latter mounting a late charge that netted him his second straight podium finish.
Starting from pole, as he has every year during his streak at the German circuit, Marquez immediately lost a couple of places as Lorenzo seized the lead.
Marquez recovered and caught Lorenzo but was content to stalk the Ducati for a while on the short and twisty Sachsenring circuit which puts a premium on tyres.
As the leader began to lose grip, Marquez took the lead with 17 laps to go, but continued to ride conservatively, allowing Rossi to trim the gap.
With 10 laps left, Marquez accelerated away.
“When I see the time is 0.6, I think now is the time to push,” Marquez said.
Rossi insisted Yamaha had done well.
“Sachsenring is normally difficult for us. We are very happy to make a double podium.”
The Ducatis that had shone in qualifying all faded in the race, occupying the four places below the podium — but maybe not in the order the factory would have wanted.
Danilo Petrucci finished fourth on the satellite Pramac Ducati, with Alvaro Bautista right behind him on a year-old Aspar Angel Nieto-team machine.
Then came the two red factory bikes which struggled as the race progressed, with Lorenzo fading from his early lead to sixth with Andrea Dovizioso in seventh.
The soon-to-be-retiring Dani Pedrosa came home eighth from Johann Zarco, with Bradley Smith scoring his first top 10 of the season for KTM.
The Austrian marque’s hopes had been high heading into the race after Pol Espargaro topped the warm-up session.
But the Spaniard made it as far as the third corner of the race, contact with Andrea Iannone sending him crashing into Alex Rins, and forcing Jack Miller off into the gravel in avoidance.
Miller rejoined at the tail of the field and rode his way back up to 14th at the flag, Iannone recovering to 12th.
Sunday was not good overall to the Espargaro brothers.
Elder brother Aleix didn’t even make the race, a heavy crash in the warm-up sending him to hospital with bad thoracic trauma in the left rib area, but luckily no broken bones.
Stefan Bradl, the sole German rider on the grid, just missed out on the points after his late call-up to replace the still-injured Franco Morbidelli, crossing the line 16th but over 11 seconds ahead of Marc VDS teammate Thomas Luthi.
Joining Rins and Pol Espargaro on the DNF list were the two LCR Hondas.
Cal Crutchlow crashed out of fifth place at the penultimate corner on Lap 10, while Takaaki Nakagami fell at the final turn while battling Zarco on Lap 5.
South African Brad Binder (KTM) won his first Moto2 Grand Prix ahead of Spain’s Joan Mir and his Kalex teammate Luca Marini.
Binder finished 0.779 seconds ahead of Mir who held off Marini, Valentino Rossi’s half brother, by 0.154 seconds.
Remy Gardner enjoyed his best race of the season since returning from injury, crossing the line in 11th after starting 20th on the grid.
In Moto3, Jorge Martin (Honda) increased his slim championship lead as he finished comfortably ahead of his nearest challenger in the standings, Italian Marco Bezzecchi (KTM), with Scot John McPhee (KTM), third.
Martin’s only anxious moment came when teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio touched his rear wheel, but the Spaniard managed to keep his balance while the Italian slid off.
“My teammate was very aggressive, I don’t know why. I thought I was going to crash,” Martin said.
The next leg of the world championship is on August 5 at the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno.