Marc Marquez took the win at Sachsenring, even as Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi put in a stunning performance to join the Spaniard on the podium. MotoGP now has a new championship leader, as we head towards Laguna Seca. It’s corkscrew time!
Have you ever tried to deal with two Doctors in one weekend? Emotional rollercoaster alert! Like this Sunday. I settled down to watch the MotoGP race at Sachsenring and Valentino Rossi popped up on the screen. I watched him whisper to his M1, take a long sip of his drink and talk to his crew chief. Then I realized I was humming: DOOOO-WEEEEEE-OOOOO (Don’t break my heart, if you don’t get the reference. Keep it to yourself, will you?). So, please bear with my madness.
Anyway, the lights went out and off they went. The pack tore down the straight heading towards the first corner. Oh wait, what just happened? Marc Marquez, the pole-sitter slipped down to 4th. Valentino Rossi zoomed past Stefan Bradl on his Tardis…errrmm, his M1 and took the lead. Cheers went up and I whooped in delight.
But I was a little distracted.
The cause was sitting right there on 3rd position, holding his ground and giving it all he could on his CRT Power Electronics Aspar. Aleix Espargaro qualified 5th – his best in MotoGP – was now in a prized position, holding off a charging Marc Marquez on his factory Honda. Whoever thought it? Meanwhile, Cal Crutchlow who had somehow managed to find himself in 5th place was trying to keep up with Marquez.
The first lot – all five of them – were packed in like sardines, taking corners on the challenging Sachsenring circuit, fighting as hard as they could.
Then came the move everyone was anticipating – well sort of, considering Bradl was practically on Vale’s tail through the first lap. The German made a brilliant, smooth pass on the nine-time champion to the tune of cheers and excited screams. I groaned. But all is not lost, I thought.
Things though did not let up after the 1st lap. The warriors were determined to give us a phenomenal race. It was enough to make ‘action-packed’ sound tame.
Vale was busy chasing down Bradl, Marquez was focused on passing Espargaro who was holding his ground, and Crutchlow was waiting for a window, as he nagged Alvaro Bautista. It was mad.
Then came the overtaking we wanted, nay were waiting for. Marquez moved past Espargaro with 28 laps to go, the prototype proving its mastery over the CRT. Meanwhile, Crutchlow had found his opening as he took Bautista’s 4th spot.
There were 25 laps to go, when I found myself humming Dooo-weee-oooo again, rather mournfully this time, as Marquez swept past Vale to take 2nd. Sorrow had to wait though. There was racing to be watched. And what racing it was! Marquez challenged Bradl and Crutchlow tried to get past Vale.
Side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel, a masterful ballet was playing out in front of us. The young rookie though had his way, as he took the lead. Right behind, Vale held on to his position. Crutchlow was on a mission determined to take 2nd spot. But Rossi wasn’t giving up that easily. He clocked the fastest lap with 23 laps to go and was busy pushing Bradl who was dreaming of a home podium.
Then, in a brilliant overtaking maneuver, Rossi moved past the German and took 2nd. Things were going to go downhill for Bradl. He had tried hard to fend off Vale and failed. Now, he had the honey badger to deal with. Crutchlow, racing with injuries to his hand and leg was almost on top of the German. He overtook Bradl with 20 laps to go and settled down to attack Vale.
He overtook Vale with 15 laps to go. Cal wanted that podium and he wanted it now! But Marquez was too fast. Crutchlow tried to shave off time, but the rookie was aways away. Vale was forced to settle for 3rd, running a lonely race till the checkered flag.
Meanwhile a phenomenal battle was being fought behind. Espargaro was giving Andrea Dovizioso a difficult time. The Ducati factory bike and the CRT bike exchanged positions, overtaking each other, until Dovizioso took the lead and 7th position. Espargaro took the 8th spot with Nicky Hayden, battling bad luck and an uncertain bike taking 9th.
This was it: The mad, absolutely wonderful, Sachsenring round. There it was: A new championship leader with Marquez leading by 2 points; Rossi’s 3rd podium of the season; And Honey Badger Cal on the podium yet again, after a brilliant race. This is MotoGP, the way I like it!
The finest hour though belonged to two men – Crutchlow and Espargaro. They fought worthy battles with inferior machines, giving the prototypes a run for their money.
What will happen at beautiful Laguna Seca? Will we see more battles? More brilliant racing? The Corkscrew has never disappointed us.
Jorge Lorenzo will be back. You heard right. That man is truly made of steel. He has promised that he will not take too many risks.
He said, “Finally, we have decided to go to Laguna Seca. Following the final medical check and after speaking to Doctor Rodriquez we are going to try. At the beginning, I seriously though that it might have been convenient to take the necessary time to recover and be back at Indy, but in the last two days, I have felt much better, so now I want to be there, although I will try to not take too many risks. I want to be there also for the fans, for the championship, but especially for my team that is waiting for me.”
Dani Pedrosa will also be back. Let’s not forget what he has written on his blog: “The championship is long and we are still only roughly halfway through it, so a lot can still happen yet.”
Now that’s fireworks waiting to happen. Isn’t it?
For now, though the other Doctor is calling to me. His allure is hard to resist.
P.S. In case you are wondering, I am of Camp David.