2022 Sachsenring MotoGP Race Result: An Undisputed Ascension To the Throne

With its longstanding monarch busy walking the dogs (and recovering from major surgery), the Sachsenring was looking to crown some new royalty – although it did not make it easy for the contenders, with rather tropical conditions during the premier class race. But at the end of a long gruelling 30 laps, there was finally a new occupant on the top spot of the podium and a very deserved one in Fabio Quartararo, the world champion taking over the crown of the Sachsenring with a commanding victory, ruling by nearly five seconds over his rivals. After Ducati’s main man bailed out early on, Johann Zarco and Jack Miller were left to pick up the pieces, the Frenchman claiming second to solidify his position as Ducati’s lead title contender, while the Australian recovered from a long lap penalty to steal the final podium position.

Pecco Bagnaia’s start from pole didn’t do him much good, with Quartararo immediately attacking him into turn one and although the Italian tried to retaliate next time around, the Yamaha man immediately snuck back past on the exit. Having started on the second row, Aleix Espargaro gained one position to trail the feisty leaders but was soon under fire from Zarco, while Miller lingered half a second back after the first couple of laps, the Australian yet to serve his long lap penalty for crashing under yellow flags the day before. The opening laps were a particularly tricky affair for the likes of Jorge Martin, who dropped down to the bottom of the top 10, Joan Mir who was stranded in 12th and Enea Bastianini, who lost ground from an already poor grid position to find himself 21st.

No such issues for Quartararo, who was immediately attempting to make a break at the front and his escape was promptly aided by Bagnaia throwing his machine at the turn one scenery at the start of lap four, prompting a festival of yellow flags, with crashes in quick succession for the likes of Mir and Darryn Binder. Bagnaia’s mistake left Zarco with the task of reeling in his compatriot, who was already one and a half seconds ahead, while seemingly dropping the Aprilias of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales, the latter’s progress helped by Miller serving his penalty on lap five, which dropped him to seventh position, behind Fabio Di Giannantonio and Martin. Brad Binder was making good progress as the lead KTM man in 8th, ahead of Luca Marini, while Pol Espargaro was the sole Honda representative in the top 10, after Alex Marquez retired and Takaaki Nakagami took a tumble on lap seven.

Only a third into the race, it already looked like a third successful escape of the day, with Quartararo managing his 1.5 second gap over Zarco, while Espargaro’s focus was on keeping teammate Viñales out of his hair in the battle for third. Hoping to re-join that particular battle, Miller had progressed through the chasing pack to take fifth by lap 12 and had a two second gap to close on the Aprilia-powered podium contenders.

If Zarco was keeping Quartararo honest for the first half of the race, the world champion doubled his advantage going into the second half, the Aprilias dropping a sizeable four seconds behind. If Viñales looked like a serious threat to his teammate’s podium in the early stages, a moment at turn eight lost him fourth in Miller’s favour and the Spaniard was then forced to retire with a rear ride-height device failure a couple of laps later. That left Espargaro under fire from Miller, while Martin picked up the lead of a feisty group battling for fifth, including Marini, Binder and Di Giannantonio.

Back at the front, Quartararo had steadily stretched a four second gap with five laps remaining, with Zarco enjoying a five second gap of his own over Aleix Espargaro, who still had Miller glued to his rear tyre. Miller made a few attempts, but the accompanying mistakes kept him behind the Spaniard until Espargaro himself left his braking a bit late at turn one and allowed Miller past with three laps to go. As soon as he found himself ahead, Miller managed to keep Espargaro at a respectable half second distance and secured the final podium spot behind the Frenchmen. Marini’s impressive pace in the closing stages equalled his best result in the class with fifth place ahead of Martin, while Binder and Oliveira sandwiched Di Giannantonio in positions seven to nine. Bastianini saved a top 10 from a particularly difficult weekend in Germany, but nowhere near as difficult as Honda’s, whose sole finishing rider was Stefan Bradl, the local rider coming home last after Pol Espargaro retired eight laps earlier.

The freshly crowned King of the Ring adds a whole pile of points to his world championship tally, Quartararo extending his advantage to 34 points over Aleix Espargaro, while Zarco fronts Ducati’s campaign on a 61-point deficit.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 41:12.8160
2 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 4.939
3 43 Jack Miller Ducati 8.372
4 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 9.113
5 10 Luca Marini Ducati 11.679
6 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 13.164
7 33 Brad Binder KTM 15.405
8 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 15.851
9 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 19.740
10 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 21.611
11 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 23.175
12 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 26.548
13 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 29.014
14 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 30.680
15 87 Remy Gardner KTM 30.812
16 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 52.040
Not Classified
  44 Pol Espargaro Honda 30:33.2010
  12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 26:18.5230
  73 Alex Marquez Honda 08:29.9370
  30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 08:17.8690
  40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 08:08.7490
  36 Joan Mir Suzuki 04:11.2150
  63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 04:07.3970
Round Number: 
10
2022
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Comments

Johan has delivered consistently great results in qualifying and on Sunday. Meanwhile Bagnaia, Martin and Bastianini rack up DNFs. Zarco's age is cited, but look at what Bautista is doing in World SBK, or how long Rossi was a strong challenger. Ducati is brilliant at engineering. Not so much in who they see as the best challenger to the New Marquez - Fabio.

I don’t think Zarco wants a factory ride. To him a factory bike in an independent team suits him well. He is perfectly happy to stand on the sidelines and watch Jorge Martin and Eneo fight over the remaining factory ride with the inevitable increase in pressure it will bring. Zarco has also seen how the top riders drop off the top of the factory Ducati escalator when they no longer have any worth to Ducati e.g. Petrux, Dovi and now Miller.

But I think the difference is when they see those 3 at their best - they are formidable race winners. If Pecco could overcome the DNF bug - apart from his poor season start - he's probably seen as good as Fabio (although - it doesn't now look like anyone can topple Fabio this season, unless he has a meltdown). Pecco's latter 2021 was excellent. Whereas Zarco has been good this year, and occasionally previously - but he's been around a long time and a lot has been fairly middling. I do want to see him win though, so we can see the back flip again.

I think Pecco will need a lot of lifting now - I think he needs to be in the mindset to write this year off and just go race by race.

"Flawed genius", is a qualifier that Bagnaia's deserves anytime his name is mentioned. Frankly it is also time to leave him out of pre-event press conferences. I realize the need to create rivalries, but there are more consistant geniusus in the grid I'd like to hear from. I don't dig the italian grandmother hair band either.

 

are also very popular with the european and latin footballers and have been for years - you'd have thought the novelty would have worn off by now - a bit like those trousers with the crutch around your knees that showed your underpants.

Apologies to Pecco fans and, even though I like himself and absolutely know I shouldn’t say this, I’m going to do it anyway. All that was missing was a small tree branch to beat the bike with and it was Fawlty Towers 2022. John Cleese eat your heart out.

The very same image flashed through my mind too…. along with imagining John Cleese esque cursing inside the helmet.

I feel for the guy though and hope that he can rise above it quickly.

Impressed with the total belief in their strategy, by team Quartararo, to stick with the medium, when all around switched to the hard rear tyre. Very impressive rides from all three podium finishers and well deserved trophies.

Hilarious!!! 

But on the opposite, did anybody notice the faces of Tardozzi and I think Ciabatti, when Jack overtook Mav for 4th position? No smiles... I understand, that their golden boy had binned it, but isn't that weird? 

Jack isn’t meant to come third, or have the same points tally as Basil. His job now is to vindicate the decision. 

Their faces told the story . . . again. Same thing happened a few races ago. They seem to grimace when Jack does good instead of smiling with excitement. Hope he makes KTM proud.

I guess Pecco is to blame for the DNF, but does anyone know more about what caused the rear to step out? He seemed to be very angry at his Ducati post-crash, curious if there was some kind of mechanical. TC? Otherwise, what explains his reaction?

As to my movie reference, well, who doesn't love Kevin Kline. Or Cleese naked.

https://youtu.be/Z1wr-avhraU?t=10

Reminded me of this. The rear tyre is not redundant in a turn, at the highest lean angles when the tyre is right on its edge they just wash out when too much is asked.

I think in the majority of cases, when a rider says 'I don't know' or 'from the data I did nothing wrong' or 'I did exactly the same as the previous lap' etc the real reason is just that they crashed the bike. The track is hot, low grip, heavy with fuel. Pecco wasn't running alone, wasn't doing the same as the previous lap, crashed the bike.

He was more than a tad off line, right when he rolled the gas on. On a RIGHT TURN at Sachenring. 

Pecco just talks with his bike. They are getting along fine. Pecco is apologizing to his Ducati in his sleep tonight.

Without getting all philosophical if you do the same each lap you aren't doing the same each lap. Reminds me of a song lyric, crap song in my opinion but it's a good line...'everybody's changing but I don't feel the same.'

Was Pecco's bike that damaged,  he couldn't get it going again? He made no effort, except doing a Basil Fawlty impression! Poor form!  If MM93 was in this situation, he would have restarted and won the race or got a podium or some points!

somehow the right clip-on was gone, as in torn off the bike? Or damaged badly enough that it was difficult to spot in the camera footage, post-crash?

I think Marini deserves some credit. While there's no doubt his family connection has served him well, he's earning his keep on the track. 

Marini is quietly improving in the background, incrementally creeping up the field. While the connection can help get him on a bike, it can’t help him ride it or ride it well. I won’t be too surprised if, in a year or two, he’s regularly making the podium.

It is time to go ahead an look at the Championship. It is unfortunate, but bite the bullet and see it.

Quartararo is poised to take the Cup. Heaps of credit and well deserved respect to Aleix Espargaro AND the Aprilia project who are heroic in holding 2nd. I do not see them keeping up with Fabio in a straight fight. Fabio is Mr Consistency. The Blue bike is reliable. Reliably slow for everyone but Quarty, excellent rider Morbidelli just has 25 pts, Professor Dovi TEN pts. Quartararo is an Alien. He took off today with a perfect launch, gorgeous aggressive well considered early passes, then vanished.

Red bike contenders have fallen away. Opening the season Ducati mounted Bagnaia was the favorite. Did Not Finish has been his frequent place. Done. Martin faltered, and hasnt revealed himself to be the sharpened tool that I thought he might be. Bastiannini, my favored rising Red star? Brilliant run but he couldn't keep it in hand. Then the new Duc ducklings each have a bit of time in the Sun. Even DiGi. None of us really fully understand why, but no Ducati rider has done the business day in and day out. Zarco? Very fast and aggressive but "old style" rider who appears to be a less consistent Miller equivalent. Now to insult Duc brass, Red turning Orange refocused Jack Miller is looking good. 

Suzuki and Mir, a deeply loved combo of mine, was a non starter this year. They came with more motor and looked good. Then, just quit and fell out of the picture. 

The Marc isn't. Neither is the Honda that broke him. 

Looking around for someone else? Are you scratching your head? It's ok, let's understand and accept that the MotoGP garden has just been trimmed back and cleared, the space in which something new will emerge. Yet again.

I blame stupid sunglasses, shapeshifters besides Maverick's today.

P.S. I love The Waterfall! So hard to capture track features like elevation change from onboard cameras. I want to feel it. Whoosh!

Cheers 

Agreed - you do look around and think where is the challenge to Fabio going to happen in 2022 ? MM93 will hopefully return in 2023 but you do wonder whether the bike or him will be up to it.

I know it’s difficult but I would love to see Toprak on a good bike in 2023. Stick him on a LCR Honda. I wonder if that ship has now sailed like it did with Jonathan Rea ?

The odds look good that a recuperated MM would only have to beat one rider next year. I know MM isn’t old, but his body has to start feeling old at some point, doesn’t it? 

^ Rob and Andrew, if Quarty left Blue OR Raz didn't there was a very real chance Toprak was coming...for now it is off the table. 

A 2024 change to MotoGP can get back on the table, but it will be a stretch. Very few top shelf bikes available, and lots of riders chasing them. 

Thankfully WSBK is excellent now. It is a felt loss to not see Toprak have a go. One wild possibility? Morbidelli remains a mostly backmarker and is swapped for Toprak. We have seen stranger things. With only two GP bikes, Yamaha rather has to make hard moves to maximize their program. 

They need to Wildcard Crutchlow as soon as possible to keep him sharp and cultivate the Euro Test Team. 

I disagree. The clock has not stopped yet. So far there are only three riders who have finished every race. Luca Marini, Aleix Espargaro and (you guessed it) Fabio Quartararo have started and finished all races so far. The chances of that being the case come season end is remote. Aleix is, with the exception of Mandalika (wash out) and COTA (COTA), looking very consistent. A run of four 3rd places should have been topped with a nice 2nd in Catalunya...ooops. He is just lacking those wins which Fabio has. Fabio falls next race and Aleix wins...gap is 9 points. Ten rounds to go. Last year Fabio didn't have a dnf until the title was settled so, he has form but hmmm. That Aprilia is starting to look like a very superior machine and Aleix is giving his everything to do this, at this stage in his career he has to seize it. So far this season, the balance seems to be right, no dnf and very good performance. I think if that continues he will be dangerous in the points until the very end and very very dangerous if Fabio makes just one slip. Aleix may not be Fabio but the points don't care.

Ducati, lumpy just like last year.

Pecco Bagnaia shows traits of perfectionism. It is not difficult to outgrow if there are external stimulae. Like asphalt at high speed. 

Pecco has the goods. He needs better guidance. 

Completely agree. I'm not sure if it IS Pecco or it is what Pecco must do with the Ducati to dominate a race. Pecco for sure has what is needed. It was a real shame because we again lost out on what could have been a good battle for the win.