Courtesy of KTM Racing
The HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland saw Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro score 12th position in front of more than 91,000 fans at the Sachsenring as Johann Zarco slid out early into the ninth round of nineteen and the last event before the summer hiatus.
The second MotoGP fixture in a week meant a demanding and technically difficult outing at the Sachsenring in Germany: an anticlockwise layout with a short lap-time. The event was typically busy in what is a popular area of Europe for motorcycle racing and conditions were warm and partially cloudy.
Pol Espargaro started the Grand Prix from 8th position and his second highest grid slot of the season so far. A small technical issue hindered the Spaniard from the off but Espargaro was soon fighting on the edge of the top ten. The former Moto2 world champion was chasing his brother Aleix by the mid-race point but then struggled with rear grip and elected to bring his KTM RC16 in a safe 12th.
Johann Zarco set off from 19th place and battling the effects of a virus. The Frenchman’s race lasted just over two laps as he slid into the gravel at Turn 3.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira launched his KTM RC16 from the rear of the grid and, unfortunately, was also a victim of Turn 3. The Portuguese was able to remount however and even though he could not get back into the points he logged a series of impressive lap-times, including the fastest circulation by any of the KTM riders. Hafizh Syahrin who gained points for the second time in 2019 with 15th last week in Assen, just missed out again on the top fifteen as the Malaysian came across the finish line in 16th.
Pol Espargaro: “The start was not amazing – we had a small electronic problem – but the first half of the race was OK and I was fighting with some other riders. I was trying to keep the tyre but towards the end it was finished and I was really disappointed to suffer such a big drop on the rear. I could not ride or do anything because there was so much spin. We tried our best today. Now it is time to relax a little bit and then go hard again in the Czech Republic.”
Johann Zarco: “My start was quite correct but there was a lot of sliding in the cooler conditions. I was expecting this and tried to keep consistent and limit the mistakes but in Turn 3 I came into the corner – maybe with too much lean – and lost the front. It’s a shame because I was in the points and that was the target. I know what I will do during the summer break and I am motivated to work and come back stronger in the Czech Republic.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “The beginning of the race was really good but after ten laps we had a very big drop. I tried to keep the pace but it was impossible in the left corners to keep the grip. It was easy to spin and many times, I was sliding a lot. I couldn’t ride the bike comfortably and was fighting especially with the left side. I just continue working hard, even if we go into the summer break now.”
Miguel Oliveira: “It’s a sad finish this weekend because I think it was one of my strongest I had all season. I was very consistent in terms of race pace and also quite fast. It’s a shame that I made this mistake early in the race because after the crash even with a broken winglet I was quite fast and I had the pace to be inside the top 10. It is frustrating, but the most important is, that after the crash we picked up the bike and continued the race, which was very important for me in order to get information for the team and to learn from this, also to keep working hard to be fast again in Brno.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “The weekend was not so good because we are at a point where 12th position does not make us happy any more. Pol had a lot of issues in the race with the tyres and the bike. He could stay with the group in the first half of the race but then the lap-times dropped dramatically. It was not what we expected. The crash from Johann so early was not good for him or for us. Miguel also had a slide but afterwards his pace and lap-times were great. At least we can look at a top ten position in the championship for the summer break and now Dani [Pedrosa] and Mika [Kallio] will do some tests for us. We’ll analyse the last GPs because we’ve had some really good ones. Difficult races like today often mean you learn even more. The company will not stop working or pushing and we will come back stronger after the break.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder grabbed his second successive podium finish in the Moto2 class. The South African finished just over a second away from winner Alex Marquez and slightly ahead of Marcel Schrotter to again spray champagne from the podium ceremony.
Brad Binder: “I’m very happy. I could see that I had a competitive pace so I tried to pass my rivals and go out on my own, but with 10 laps to go I began to suffer and everything became much harder. Despite that, I was still able to attack in the last laps. I have to thank Red Bull KTM Ajo, Aki Ajo and everyone who is working non-stop to make this happen. I’m happy to be able to fight for the podium at two races in a row. We’ve taken a big leap forward and we can be there with a strong second half of the season.”
Jorge Martin pushed through to 9th position after clocking his best qualification position of the season on Saturday. The classification was the Moto3 World Champion’s highest so far in his maiden Moto2 term.
Race day began with Moto3 and another entertaining spectacle. Lorenzo Dalla Porta emerged victorious and Sterilgarda Max Racing Team’s Aron Canet took his KTM to third place. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü earned his first world championship points in 2019 with 14th position.
After two consecutive races MotoGP now enters a summer break. The paddock will not gather again until the first weekend of August where the Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceske republiky will take place at Brno and will be followed by another IRTA test.
Next race: August 4th, Brno, Monster Energy Ceske republiky (CZE)
Results Race MotoGP Sachsenring 2019
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 41:08.276
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +4.587
3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda +7.741
4. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati +16.577
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +16.669
12. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +26.574
16. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +41.615
18. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +57.377
DNF. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM
Results Race Moto2 Sachsenring 2019
1. Alex Marquez (ESP) Kalex 39:35.101
2. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.208
3. Marcel Schrotter (GER) Kalex +1.630
9. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +10.538
Results Race Moto3 Sachsenring 2019
1. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), Honda 39:29.348
1. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), Honda +0.072
3. Aron Canet (ESP), KTM +0.120
14. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +6.648