Marc Marquez remains unbeaten at the Sachsenring since 2010, when he won in the 125cc category. He then had two consecutive wins at the track in Moto2, in 2011 and 2012, and has won every race in Germany since he made the step up to MotoGP in 2013.
For every win, he was on pole position. Marquez grew up riding dirt track and therefore loves left hand circuits like the Sachsenring, and it’s also a track very well suited to the Honda; in the premier class, Honda have remained unbeaten here since 2009.
Whilst there may be added pressure on Marquez this weekend due to the expectation of another win, his most recent win at Assen will likely lessen this pressure slightly.
Assen is not a track that is usually well suited to the Honda or Marquez, so to finish on the top step of the podium was definitely not guaranteed, especially after such a close battle.
It shows they have improved on their weaknesses to be more competitive at all the tracks.
“The victory we scored at Assen was important because it was a race where it was incredibly easy to make a mistake but instead we were able to increase our advantage in the Championship.” said Marquez, in the run up to the weekend.
“Now we go to a very different circuit where we’re normally very strong, but every year is different; you could object that I often repeat this idea, but it’s true!
“Weather could play an important role, as we’ve seen in the past: if it’s rainy or mixed, everything will change very quickly and you must be ready.
“So we’ll see; we’ll go there and try to find our level and be strong from the start of the weekend. Then on Sunday we’ll try and fight for the podium again.”
Marquez is clearly not getting ahead of himself heading into the weekend. Although his record here is one of complete domination, Jonas Folger tried hard to take the win from him last year and it would be unwise to count out other riders and teams. This year especially, with Ducati competitive at tracks that haven’t suited them before.
Friday practice shows a surprising mix up in the order that suggests Marquez may have been right to remain cautious, with 3 Ducatis in the top 4 overall and Marquez in fifth.
The Ducatis were led by Jorge Lorenzo, whilst Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone was first in first practice and third in FP2. Other warning signs for Honda are Cal Crutchlow down in ninth and Dani Pedrosa continuing with his recent poor form, finishing twentieth.