MotoGP: Five things to watch during the German GP
The Yamaha teammates head into Sunday’s German GP just 10 points apart for the championship lead, yet it is the Repsol Honda duo who seemingly have the upper hand on performance this weekend.
Here are five things to watch during the German GP:
MARQUEZ v ROSSI
Despite public declarations of mutual respect, the final-corner drama between this pair at last week’s Dutch TT signaled the beginning of the end of a beautiful friendship. Things will never be the same between the 36-year-old legend Rossi and Marquez, 22, who grew up with posters of his racing hero on his bedroom wall. Rossi tipped Marquez for greatness and admires his robust style, but Rossi is also MotoGP’s most ruthless racer and, as he showed at Assen, happy to dish out tough love on the track.
Rejuvenated by a switch back to his smoother handling 2014 Honda chassis, Marquez is fast and full of confidence, and has boldly declared his intention of winning his first race since Texas in April. His six-race losing streak is the longest of his MotoGP career. Marquez is unbeaten in three classes at the Sachsenring since 2010 and has dominated practice and qualifying with a new pole record. He needs a win to kick-start his very slim chances of winning the championship.
It is literally one of the most breathtaking, and potentially dangerous, sections of racetrack on the MotoGP schedule. The roller-coaster leap off turn 11 – which is taken flat in fifth gear at 125 mph – to a steep downhill run into turn 12. The tricky part is that the blind crest for the right-hand turn 11 is preceded by an oval track style sequence of 7 left corners that causes the right side of the tire to cool down just when maximum grip is needed.
Dani Pedrosa is the almost forgotten man of the Honda squad since Marc Marquez’s soaring rise to fame, but he is a Sachsenring specialist and the second-fastest qualifier. He has won the MotoGP race here four times since 2006 – a record only matched at the Sachsenring by Valentino Rossi. Pedrosa is now fully recovered from his early-season arm-pump surgery and committed to ending a losing streak that stretches back to the Czech GP last August.
ROSSI v LORENZO
The race within a race. Yamaha teammates Rossi and Lorenzo are involved in an increasingly intense battle for the world title with Lorenzo just 10 points behind, although he has won four races to Rossi’s three. The German GP is the ninth race and the mid-point of the season, and both Yamaha riders will want to go to the summer break with the momentum of being the championship leader.