Bradley Smith had to settle for a disappointing fifth place in today’s German 125GP as Marc Marquez continued his unstoppable surge to the 2010 world title.
Desperate to end Marquez’s golden run, Smith got the holeshot as the 28-lap race started on a rapidly drying track after heavy early morning rain.
But as the track continued to dry, the Aspar Aprilia rider was unable to sustain his challenge and by the end of lap five he’d dropped from third to fifth with fast charging Spanish duo Pol Espargaro and Marquez overtaking the 19-year-old.
Smith briefly threatened to claim his third podium in the last four races as he got locked in a thrilling five-rider fight for third.
The Oxfordshire rider claimed third on lap 20 from Randy Krummenacher but a lap later he dropped back to fourth and eventually finished fifth, just 1.4s away from the rostrum.
Marquez was unstoppable again though he was pushed all the way by a determined Espargaro.
German duo Jonas Folger and Marcel Schrotter made the most of the treacherous early conditions to seize the early initiative to the delight of a massive home crowd at the Sachsenring.
With the track still damp in places, Folger streaked away at the front and was almost 2.5s clear by lap three. But Marquez clawed back a deficit of five seconds on lap six to drop the home favourite out of contention and Folger eventually finished 16th as his rain tyres deteriorated on the dry track.
Marquez and Espargaro were able to easily streak away from the field and they became engaged in their own enthralling battle.
Split by just one-point at the top of the world championship standings going into the eight round of the series, the pair constantly changed the lead throughout.
Neither could make a decisive break and with a tense finish beckoning, Espargaro’s world title hopes suffered a major blow when he crashed out of the lead on lap 25.
Desperate to keep Marquez’s Derbi machine at bay, he clipped a damp section of Astroturf on the run up to the final corner and was instantly high-sided.
Marquez was lucky not to be taken out in the incident too and Espargaro was unable to get his stricken Aprilia machine going again to salvage some points.
His costly blunder gifted Marquez an easy stroll to his fifth successive victory after another assured performance in tricky conditions.
He became the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 1997 to win five successive 125GP races and he extended Spain’s domination of the 125 class with an 18th consecutive win.
With title contender Nicolas Terol failing a medical on Thursday after his big crash in Catalunya earlier this month, Marquez now has a healthy 26-point lead in the rankings going into the summer break.
Marquez said: "It was a very hard in the first part of the race and it was easy to make a mistake and lose a lot of points for the championship. I didn't push a lot in the early part but it was a good fight with Espargaro.
"He touched the artificial grass and crashed and I was lucky not to crash also but I start the holidays in a great shape."
The large German crowd were in raptures when Sandro Cortese grabbed a dramatic third place at the final corner with an aggressive move to deny Esteve Rabat a second top three of the campaign.
It was Cortese's first podium of the season and he said: "It is a fantastic feeling to be on the podium in my home race. The race was difficult in the conditions but I tried everything on the last lap.
"I knew I was going to attack Rabat at the final corner and it was a case of crash or nothing."
Japanese rider Tomoyoshi Koyama took a brilliant secondafter Krummenacher had crashed out of third place at the first corner on lap 25.
British teenager Danny Webb continued his excellent consistency in 2010 with a gritty ride to seventh equalling his previous best result of the season in Assen.