2021 Sachsenring MotoGP Race Result: Written In The Stars But A Fancy Telescope Was Needed

If the searing heat wasn’t enough, the Sachsenring was out to intimidate with some spots of rain ahead of the premier class race. Despite all the question marks and the nerves, all talk of rain ended after the first few laps and all talk was about miraculous comebacks and other such superlatives addressed to Marc Marquez. After 581 days, there were tears of joy for a change and the King of the Ring set off the fireworks after he achieved his 11th consecutive victory in Germany. Miguel Oliveira put up a fight but had to admit defeat and settle for second, in a pretty good day for KTM. After a hard race, Fabio Quartararo claimed the final step on the podium to strengthen his position in the world championship standings.

Against all odds, the Ducatis were beaten off the line and a busy turn 1 saw Aleix Espargaro grab the lead ahead of Marquez and poleman Johann Zarco, with Quartararo, Jack Miller and Oliveira close behind. Impatient as ever, Marquez was quick to make his move at the final corner to lead the way at the start of lap 2. Espargaro hit back next time around turn 12 but the Honda immediately repeated the move at the final turn to resume the lead. Behind them, Zarco was keeping Miller, Quartararo and Oliveira at bay, while Brad Binder had arrived to the party from 13th on grid. Amongst the Q1 brigade, Joan Mir joined the top 10 by lap four but Maverick Viñales made no progress off the line and very little progress for the rest of the race.

Back at the front, there was no more progress needed for Marquez, who continued to push from the lead of the pack, but so were the rest of the favourites behind him. However, Aleix Espargaro was the only obvious threat in the initial stages, with the Ducatis holding station while Oliveira got ahead of Quartararo for fifth. The leading group was still sizable on lap 5, with the leaders joined by Binder, Alex Rins, Jorge Martin, Mir and Pol Espargaro, although they were not making much noise at the back of the pack.

With the early pace not quite as hot yet as what riders showed in practice, it looked like the leading group was riding a bit more cautiously, maybe because of tyre wear concerns or maybe because of drops of rain on their visor. It wasn’t long until the white flag was shown on lap 9 and it looked like Marquez was the only one not spooked by it, gapping the pack by one second over the next lap. Miller saw the Spaniard run away and got ahead of Aleix Espargaro despite the rain flag coming out and waving in his line of sight.

The rain never got significant enough to concern him and Marquez extended his advantage to a second and a half by lap 11. Miller and Oliveira were the keenest to chase him down, leaving Aleix Espargaro half a second behind and with Quartararo and Zarco looking for a way past. Oliveira got past Miller at turn 12 to lead the chase with the fastest lap yet but the gap to the leader was slow to come down. Drops were soon forgotten and the pace at the front was picking up by lap 14, mainly courtesy of Marquez and Oliveira, leaving Miller almost a second behind and with only Espargaro and Quartararo seemingly able to keep up with the Australian, while Zarco and Binder dropped half a second back.

Marquez’s gap was still two seconds as he entered the second half of the race, but Oliveira was just as determined to keep him in his sights and stretched the same gap back to Miller. Quartararo started to make some moves mid-race and got past Espargaro to pursue Miller with 13 laps to go. With 12 laps remaining and tyres entering a critical period, the gap at the front reduced under 1.5 seconds for the first time, while Quartararo got past Miller at turn 12 to join the podium party that was now taking place over three seconds behind Oliveira.

Marquez pushed to cling onto his advantage for the next few laps but Oliveira continued to apply pressure and dropped Quartararo and the growing group battling for fourth over four seconds back. With the leading Honda quicker in the first two sectors and the KTM having the upper hand in the final two, the gap at the front continued to fluctuate and Marquez going a bit wide at turn 1 reduced the gap to under a second for the first time with seven laps to go. The Spaniard was quick to recover the couple of tenths he lost at turn 1 but Oliveira was not showing any such weakness behind him.

Marquez was anything but smooth as he entered the final five laps, as tyre wear and perhaps exhaustion was starting to show but that didn’t slow him down much and he was able to rise to the challenge set by the KTM man. Oliveira looked like he eventually admitted defeat with three laps to go, when the gap went back to over a second and a half and the Honda started the final lap two seconds in the lead.

Against all odds, Marquez proved to be unbeatable once more at the Sachsenring, with Oliveira a still impressive second and Quartararo a solid third. The battle for fourth got heated in the final couple of laps and Binder ended up victorious ahead of Pecco Bagnaia, demoting Miller to sixth on the last lap. Aleix Espargaro took seventh place, while poleman Zarco faded all the way down to eighth. Mir and Pol Espargaro rounded out the top 10, Rins missing out by two seconds on his return from injury.

Quartararo’s late progress coupled with the Ducatis fading means that the Frenchman extends his championship lead to 22 points over Zarco, 31 over Miller and 32 over Bagnaia.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 93 Marc Marquez Honda 41'07.243
2 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM +1.610
3 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +6.772
4 33 Brad Binder KTM +7.922
5 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati +8.591
6 43 Jack Miller Ducati +9.086
7 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +9.371
8 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +11.439
9 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +11.625
10 44 Pol Espargaro Honda +14.769
11 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +16.803
12 89 Jorge Martin Ducati +16.915
13 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +19.217
14 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +22.300
15 10 Luca Marini Ducati +23.615
16 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati +23.738
17 27 Iker Lecuona KTM +23.946
18 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +24.414
19 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +24.715
Not Classified
  32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 25 Laps
  9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 26 Laps
  73 Alex Marquez Honda 26 Laps
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That was an awesome performance by Marc. Certainly it will rate as the best comeback to win after massive injury within HRC since the Mick Doohan 2 stroke era. May Marc go from strength to strength. That Honda was squirming and squealing as he wrung its neck during the last 5 laps to keep a brilliant Miguel charge at bay.  Yamaha disaster apart from a very level headed ride by Fabio. Brad Binder ! What a race he had. He, like Marc, always goes well at this place. Getting to grips with a familiar track on a GP bike as opposed to an M3 or M2 bike is a bitch. Ducati had a good day at the office all round at a go cart track they have not been great at. Aprilia ? Just need that extra 5%, Dovi ? Suzuki were the big loser's today. I understand Alex Rins situation with the arm and all, but Joan Mir can't be a happy bunny post Sachsenring on supposedly the best turning and tire conserving bike on the grid. Well done Marc Marquez. I for one loved it !

I think Vinales has been so blindsided by Fabio within that team that he barely knows what day it is.

He must be almost as relieved as Alex Rins that he's got a contract in his pocket for next year, and that Yamaha don't have the same conveyor belt of talent lined up that Ducati and KTM have.

I really want to like Mav as a rider, but these up and down performances leave me scratching my head.  We've never quite sure which Mav will show up on a given day.

While Quartararo deals with his Yamaha's shortcomings and gets on with it, Viñales seems to have been obsessing over the shortcomings of the Yamaha to the extent that it's affecting his riding.

It's about "the glass being half full or half empty". In the mind of Viñales, the glass is "half empty and contains poison". When Rossi and Morbidelli can finish ahead of Viñales on bikes which are not as competitive, it's glaringly obvious that Viñales' biggest problem is Viñales. I wouldn't be surprised to see Viñales negotiate an early exit from his contract.

RTFB. Ride the ... bike. If I was a senior guy at Yamaha I'd be getting seriously tired of his tantrums.

That seems to be the mindset of the new crop of riders.  Learn the bike and its quirks, adjust as much as you can and then just ride the pants off it as well as you can.  Maybe they were inspired by MM93 and his skill at riding around issues rather than just waiting around for a technical fix.  Vinalez is lucky he's with Yamaha.  Honda would have given him the pink slip a long time ago.

Are his tantrums one of the  reasons his last crew chief left? Mav says it wasn't up to him and Yamaha says it was by mutual agreement....

I can understand the frustration if a problem on the bike caused a DNF etc but to have a hissy fit during one of the test sessions over the weekend (can't remember which session it was) would certainly dampen any team spirit pretty quickly, not to mention the time taken to get any quality information out of him!

Thanks for adding the link to the Vinales comments.  I would imagine every team member is dissatisfied with the performance of the Vinales M1.   Maybe Maverick needs to have a pre-interview where he unloads all his thoughts, has a friend edit them and then go to the actual interview.  He could get a tattoo that reminds him "don't press conference while angry ".  It would be interesting to know other riders attitudes about using their teammates settings.  I would think they would use the Devil's settings if they worked.

I'd say zero point nothing covering a huge number of bikes. King to last covered by zero point nothing. Four years as Rossi's team mate and some reported troubles concerning the direction the bike should go. Apparently...so say many of the current character assassins...Maverick won the argument and the blessed tuning forks began to win again. In steps the hot shoe. The child. You ever imagine going through the dark days with pointed finger...as people say....finally people take note but then turn to face another ? The child...I WANT I WANT I WANT. What is given suits only THE one trick pony and you my friend...sorry what's your name ?

I'm not saying it's true but the one thing i can tell from Maverick is that he says what he says and little is the truth because when he used to speak the truth, as he saw it, you all crapped on him for that too. The only people who know what is going on are within the team and the radius of the circle which is team...changes.

Mav is the most talented rider on the grid...watch him ride

"The only people who know what is going on are within the team ..."


I don't know what's going on behind the garage doors, any more than any of us do, but I do know the race results. 

I don't have any intention of "crapping" on Viñales. I think Vinales could already have won a MotoGP world championship ( or several ) already if riding talent alone would get that done. Frankly I believe what Viñales needs more than a new crew chief is the services of a good sports psychologist. At this level of sport, talent or equipment are not what makes the crucial difference, because ( as we've witnessed recently ) pretty much all the riders on the grid have the talent to acheive close to the same lap times during practice and qualifying. The mental difference comes into play in the race.

There are recent changes worth mentioning : Viñales has a wife and child now, and starting a family of your own tends to bring on extreme changes in one's life ( anyone who's experienced parenthood will be aware of this ). In the F1 movie "Rush", there's a scene when Lauda is on his honeymoon and he says to his new wife : "Happiness is the enemy". To put this into brutally plain language, when you have a wife and child there's a good chance your attitude relative to risking your own life is going to change, and the attitude change is unlikely to help you win races.

I would not criticize Viñales if he decided to retire and enjoy his hard-earned retirement. There's more to life than going fast on a motorcycle on a race track.

"Imagine" is the key word. On a daily basis, I imagine the reality of other characters playing on the stage of my reality. But I do not know their reality, so whatever I say about their reality is story. In fact, my life story is exactly that. I imagine that Viñales is doing the best that he can and the exact circumstances that are creating his current situation are an unknown to me. And maybe even to him. When he is on song and strafing apexes, good luck everyone else. But the same could be said for pretty much all of the GP grid. When the racing becomes predictable, boredom creeps in. It's wonderful to see fresh faces having their day, and kicking a guy when he's down comes back. Just my two cents. More story.

Well said PeterDay.

24s behind and the pundits all say he has an attitude problem. We're not in his head and life so we should just enjoy the spectacle....

Exactly Peter. I've heard Mav called a wimp, can't ride a bike, slow, liar and and etc...

Actually, he's one of the fastest riders on the planet, they all are and they are also prepared to sit on a prototype bike and jump into T1 at 360. Respect to every one of them. 5th place isn't twice as fast as 10th place. Some of the gaps in Germany were getting to be insane. A gust of wind and you drop a place or two.

Mav's in trouble. He's in a flat spin heading out to sea. 
Saves the day in the end though.

Valentino, 2nd Yamaha. While Franco is on the 2019 bike what on earth was Maverick doing? His days are surely numbered?

but it seems we have had another lesson in how a gifted rider can used a subpar tool to achieve very good results.  1st Honda was in 1st place.  Next Honda was in 10th place.  Shades of Stoner on the Ducati ...?

Congratulations David Emmett and Marc Marquez! Well done D.E. you picked it!

Well done Miguel Oliveira. 

Good points for Fabio Q and no mistake.

4th is good result for Brad Binder.

Maverick? Perhaps he isn't sleeping well with that new baby. May go OK at Assen.

Welcome back The Marc! That pep talk from Mick Doohan might have made a difference. Ninety points behind with maybe nine races to run. Ten points more than FQ20 every race seems unlikely at this point. Even if Marc wins every race, heaven forbid, & Fabulous takes only third places that is still good enough for Quartararo to win the championship.


I will be taking it race by race.

Crow eaten. Doesn't taste bad. How right you and your bold call are David! Or should we say left?
Marquez has come back. On the grid he looked to be preparing to murder T1. He had a few minor mistakes, but held up physically for race distance taking lefts at a track that minimizes the Honda issues. Much can be said. Congrats Marc, long difficult and painful slog to here. So much emotion!

The start and opening laps were worth watching again. I found myself thinking about bikes as much as anything. A.Espargaro (even though he was bruised from a warmup crash) led the race on wee Aprilia. Aprilia! Were you wondering of a possible podium challenge early on? Just one rider shouldering the whole project. Wow.

The KTM looks great under two of their riders. Oliveira has made that big step. (Did you get those fancy sunglasses from Elias?). Binder's race was excellent too, just off the podium after relentless battling. Orange!

The post Gigi Ducati has made that elusive transformation into a bike that handles well. Not just for one rider or style (but 8?!). Martin and Bagnaia were fast today. Zarco didn't have a very good go. Miller looked the better rider. I think Martin is on trajectory to be the best of them. Let's see. But today? Bagnaia was ripping! Had he not had to deal with so much traffic, his pace was brilliant and could have taken him even further. Can't quite see yet what Bastiannini has for us yet. He did though see a three gridspot penalty for his Q shite, which hopefully puts him right. It still put him right ahead of Petrucci however, who I unfortunately would like to see make way for two new fast kids at Tech3. Nice guy, great smile, and might be a beast on a Superbike.

Tire wear showed up a bit at the end, but not so much for a track like this. Just a couple riders tried the M front. Only Taka ran the S rear. 10 degrees cooler today helped the rear make it, even the S. Good tires these days, hopefully even better next year?

Quartararo deserves praise on his lonely Yamaha. Solid racing again from the French kid. Hoping he keeps it zipped to the end of the season. I would like to see him get a championship.

Mir 9th? The Suzuki program has rolled off the gas a bit. Please come back from Summer break with an answer for the bike. Not just Q, a little something more for Sunday? Mir turned a fastest lap early in the race. But this isn't enough oomph to challenge a Championship.

A week ago Maverick came to mind as a possible dark horse for Sachenring. How dramatically wrong was that? Poor guy. Biggest loser of the wknd? Q 2nd to the back, and finished LAST. There is pressure on him now. It looks miserable. 

Remy has stamped his mark on Moto2 with dominance. Raul was bitten and lost good points, but he looked great too. Keeping an eye on our MotoGP additions (anyone else think Roberts is wishing he'd signed with Factory Aprilia?). 

Pedro Acosta may look a little kid, but he is a big motorcycle racer. Smart too. Great instincts. It is tough to avoid tangles in that front trench fight. Plenty of contact. Sounds like WW1 airplanes, looks like bayonet range, sorting the brave. Spain beats Italy, KTM beats Honda, and the racing can't be beat.

Impressive race and comeback Marc! Good call David.

Maybe it's just me but the commentary seems to be getting more and more hysterical. Okay Motorgp is exciting, I get it, but the confected excitement should maybe be dialled back a notch or two.

The BT commentators were on about Marquez as though Marquez had risen from the dead and walked on water.

Someone ( not sure which commentator ) compared Marquez returning with Doohan's comeback. Doohan's injuries were FAR worse - the doctors at one point wanted to amputate Doohan's leg, and Doohan's legs were surgically joined to allow his damaged leg to recover.

The good news is, you can turn the sound off and just watch the race. 

Unless you have seen Marc's medical records your opinion is purely based on speculation, not facts. 

Doohan's leg never fully healed and he was up and riding almost before he could walk but he could ride around that weakness ., his biggest problem being unable to use a foot operated brake .

But with modern bikes / brakes being so powerful and the speeds now so high the forces involved will penalise any physiclal weakness in the upper body , arms, wrists , hands - braking G now being measured at 2,5G for example .

While they are at it, can they drop the nationalism/tribalism baloney. "Oh you South African fans have something to cheer for now." Ugg...

I'll throw in my yea vote...the MGP commentary invariably becomes contrived and a little too excited in the last couple laps, regardless of whether there's a close finish coming or not.  I know they're promoting but the fake volume get's old fast.  On the flip side, is WSBK commentary that sounds like someone is reading out of a techinical journal.   Last weekend in Misano JR pulls off a full-on MM save when he washes the front end, rides his knee and elbow right around the corner, and pulls it up just before the inside grass...the commentary was a remarkably stoic (and I paraphrase slightly) "...and Jonathon Rea from Northern Ireland on the KRT Kawasaki ZR1 has run into the grass and lost one position".

I rewatch the last laps of Catalunya '09 regularly....sometimes just to listen to Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish.  Bring 'em back.

So true about the commentary on the World SBK stream. One of the two guys is really decent, but the other one is always talking in a monotonous, emotionless voice that is totally disconnected from what's happening on track and even emotionally disconnected from what he is saying. Like you say, it's like he's reading from a technical journal, or summing up an inventory list. The stupid thing is, it has a serious effect on how I perceive what's going on in the race, it sometimes makes me doze off even when there's a bunch of bikes slamming fairings and sliding and wallowing on their Pirelli tyres. And yes, that moment that Rea made that big save didn't cause any change in his voice either. I think during the first real time showing, he even was busy with another inventory list and didn't bother interrupting that, but I could be wrong. (Rea himself was definitely a lot more impressed by his big moment, as he admitted afterwards.)

He's quite knowledgable by the way, but just not a live commentator. Those should be able to lively up even a boring race, he's doing the opposite. The MotoGP commentary is definitely better than that, even if it's occasionally a little 'confected excitement', as mentioned above.


I'm sure I heard someone on BT over the weekend link Jake Dixon with replacing Rossi at Petronas next year if VR46 retires - I like Jake but he's not done enough to earn a GP ride yet.

It comes across like BT are creating rumours in desperation to get a British rider back into MotoGP. I remember last summer when Dovi was announced he was leaving Ducati - BT kept linking Scott Redding to the ride when seemingly nobody else was.

Generally speaking, I think the BT coverage is really good, but I wish they'd wind the 'Back The Brits' stuff in a bit.

I agree with you - Redding could have never gone to MotoGP this year - he is halfway through a 2 year contract and is being made to look very average by his team mate. They do keep pushing the populist angle to keep uninformed Brits happy. BT seem to have the lions share of interview duties to Guintoli who does come across very well and you do wonder whether they are a bit overmanned back in London!

Congrats to David for his bold prediction. You lose a couple of points due to your twitter hedge which hopefully most will not have seen.

David Emmett


Prediction for the MotoGP race: I genuinely don't know who is going to win. Fabio Quartararo may have the pace. Miguel Oliveira has to get a good start, but is probably fastest. And who knows what Marc Marquez can do. Podium, certainly.

David Emmett


Also, yes, I changed my mind. The facts pointed to my opinion being incorrect, so I changed my opinion.