By Antonio López / Márquez has accumulated seven consecutive victories at Sachsenring and started from the pole position in all of them. Undoubtedly, Marc is a master of the German circuit. If he wins this weekend, he will become the second rider in history to win the same GP for eight straight years.
“It’s not one of my favorite tracks, but the truth is I always do well.” It’s remarkable that Marc is the first to be surprised as to why he does so well at the German circuit, although there is a theory that may justify it: Dirt Track. Riders like Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, and more recently Nicky Hayden, came to the GPs from dirt track ovals, and they always managed to go faster at the left-handed circuits. Márquez uses this discipline as the base of his training, where he rides in just one direction, making his way through the only two existing corners in a continuous left-hand slide. Marc is an expert and this could be one of the reasons why he has been winning at Sachsenring since 2010.
The first of the seven victories was the year of his 125cc World Champion title in 2010. As usual was the case at the time, Pol Espargaró was the rider who pressured Márquez the most. The race was a duel between the two that ended on the exit of the penultimate corner when Pol crashed just in front of Marc, who narrowly avoided the fall. It was a close call for Marquez but was not unfamiliar to him, as the previous year in exactly at the same point; he had a mishap on the last lap when he collided violently with Joan Olivé. The two riders saved the crash, but the front brake lever of Marc’s bike had moved from its normal position with the impact, so when he reached for the brake at the next corner, he opened his right fingers to reach for the lever…and found nothing to stop his bike! The rear brake was not enough to slow the bike for the corner and Marquez highsided, ruining what could have been his first podium at Sachsenring.
His first year in Moto2 in 2011 he was determined not to have any impediment to taking his second victory. At that time, his main rival was local rider Stefan Bradl, who was challenging Marc after Marc overtook him with a spectacular move coming off the fast and difficult turn 11. Marc risked opening the gas while the bike was on the outer rumble strip as the motorcycle was still leaned over. Bradl was left behind and the race decided.
His second year in the intermediate category (2012) he gave his rivals no opportunities:he led the race from the start and from there he just increased the distance from those who tried to follow him.
His jump to MotoGP (2013) was also no obstacle to his continued success at Sachsenring. Neither Rossi nor Bradl were able to stop him. In that year (2013), the front straight became the key point of the race, a point where no one could break away in MotoGP; Marc taught everyone how to do it. With the front straight clear, he escaped again to a resounding victory as he had done in Moto2.
2014 will remain his year of records. Marc added his ninth consecutive victory of the season and not even the crazy race at Sachsenring that year was an impediment so he had his fifth triumph at the German track. After the warm up lap on wet tires, upon lining up for the race the riders confirmed that the asphalt was dry enough for slicks, so the great majority chose to enter pits and change bikes. Huddled together at the end of pit lane, more than half of the grid started from that point with Marquez at the head. In front of the race after the start were those riders who had gone to the grid, but in a couple of laps were overtaken by those who had started with slicks. Marc won because, understanding the situation, he took the warm up lap faster than anyone so he could be the first one out of the pit lane.
2015 saw a new Marquez show. At that time, Lorenzo was his strongest rival…until Marc pulled his “secret weapon” out at Sachsenring: passing under braking at the end of the front straight. Once again, with the track clear, Marquez escaped to his sixth consecutive win.
This weekend Marc Márquez has the opportunity surpsass Rossi in terms of consecutive victories at the same track.
Of all seven victories, last year’s was probably the most difficult. Trying to follow the lead group on wet asphalt, he ran off the track at high speed. He managed to save the crash, but the victory had escaped him…or so it seemed. He was in eighth with more than 11 seconds from the race head when the asphalt began to dry. With nothing to lose, Márquez went to the pits before anyone else to change motorcycles. With slicks, he immediately went seven seconds faster than the leading group who continued on wets. Marc took his sixth victory at Sachsenring with a 10-second margin this time, something totally unthinkable at the midway point of the race.
This weekend Marc Márquez has the opportunity surpsass Rossi in terms of consecutive victories at the same track. Rossi had seven consecutive wins at Mugello between 2002 and 2008, a record that matched other riders. Mike Hailwood had 12 wins at the Isle of Man’s Tourist Trophy, but only seven of them consecutive. Angel Nieto had 15 victories in Assen, but never for more than five consecutive years. Agostini is the only rider with nine consecutive years winning on the same track: the Imatra circuit in Finland, where he won consecutively from 1965 to 1973, a period where he collected a total of fifteen victories, a number that would increase by one more in 1975.
There are a few remaining records for Marc to meet or beat, although considering that he is just 24 years old, it seems that the number he won’t reach or surpass is small.