A dramatic German MotoGP weekend blew the 2013 world championship wide open with rookie Marc Marquez’s fourth straight win at the Sachsenring moving him to the top of the points standings.
Marquez knew a victory in yesterday’s 30-lap race would move him into the world championship lead with Spanish rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa both out through injury after heavy practice falls.
The Repsol Honda rider duly obliged after holding off a fantastic late charge from British rider Cal Crutchlow, who took second for his fourth podium finish in the last five races.
Marquez’s second MotoGP victory moved him two points clear of HRC teammate Dani Pedrosa, who was ruled out after suffering dizzy spells and low blood pressure after a vicious cold tyre high-side in Saturday morning's FP3.
Marquez is 11-points ahead of Lorenzo after the reigning world champion saw an FP2 crash on Friday afternoon rule him out.
But with Crutchlow and nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi also on the podium, the top five riders are split by just 37-points heading to the halfway point in the championship at Laguna Seca this weekend.
The five-way scrap is already shaping up to be the closest in years and Marquez said: “Now we are five riders in 37-points and it will be interesting and it will be a nice championship. For the show it is better. It will be interesting and for me the more riders that are in front it is better.”
Crutchlow said he was not thinking about his championship chances at all. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is currently lying fourth in the standings and trails Marquez by 31-points.
The 27-year-old said: “I am not looking at the championship. I want to make as many podiums as I can and I want to win a race. I think it is completely up in the air and anything can happen. Dani was racing this morning (Sunday) and then he didn’t come to the grid. I think it is going to be anybody’s.
For me it is nice to be in the front five. That was one of my goals for the start of the year. At the start of the year I said I’d be happy with fifth, so to be fourth is not so bad. It is difficult with Marc, Dani, Valentino and Jorge because they are so strong.”
Rossi’s third podium of the season means he sits 37-points off the lead and the Italian icon must be seriously rueing his mistake in a rain-hit Le Mans race and a first lap collision with Alvaro Bautista in his home round at Mugello.
He collected just four-points in those two races and the 34-year-old said: “The situation is very close. Sincerely what I think is that Dani and Jorge when they are at 100% are the stronger to win but Marc is in front and each time he is on the podium apart from the mistake in Mugello.
If I want to fight for the podium I have to go faster and be more constant. We are not so far away but we have to take another step. The championship is very interesting because we are five and it is a good number. All five are very fast and strong and we have experience to be fast in all the tracks. We are on the best bikes but we have to do a better job because it would be more interesting if we are within 10-points than 37!”
For seven pages of coverage from the German MotoGP race, see the July 17 issue of Motor Cycle News.