The top two in the title chase go head-to-head and treat us to an unforgettable battle in the Ring

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) vs Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), 2023 Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland – that’s a battle that will be remembered for years to come as the Ducati duo treat us to a spell-binding scrap for victory, with Tissot Sprint winner Martin coming out on top by the barest of margins: 0.064s. Johann Zarco made it two Prima Pramac Racing riders on the rostrum as the Frenchman notched up his fourth podium of the year.

A battle for the ages

With Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) withdrawing from the race following his fifth crash of the weekend in Warm Up, the King of the Ring crown was up for grabs. Just as he did in the Tissot Sprint Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1 as Bagnaia and Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) slotted into P2 and P3. Miller led but at Turn 11 the Australian had a huge moment on the rear as they flicked it onto the cold side of the tyre. That allowed Bagnaia, Martin and Marini to carve past.

Lap 3, Turn 12 – a change of the lead. Martin pounced on Pecco and with it, the Sprint victor set the fastest lap of the race. Miller was holding teammate Brad Binder at bay, with the latter enjoying a mini battle with the fast-starting, soft rear tyre-running Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing). Binder grabbed P4 off Miller at the end of Lap 4 and set his sights on the top three, with Martin quickly building a 0.7s lead.

Zarco was soon past Miller too – the same place he dispatched Binder at in the Sprint, Turn 11 – and on Lap 7 the Frenchman set the fastest lap of the race. Martin’s gap was down to 0.5s with the top five just two seconds apart. Lap 10 saw Binder pounce past Marini for P3, but the gap between Binder and Bagnaia was up to 1.7s. A few laps later, Zarco chose Turn 11 as his passing place again as Marini dropped to P5.

The top two looked like they were out of reach for the chasing pack. Binder was 2.9s adrift with 17 laps to go, with Bagnaia starting to put pressure on the shoulders of Martin. With 12 laps to go, it looked like Martin was starting to respond though. Bagnaia had been right on Martin’s coattails but the gap edged back to half a second.

In the podium battle, drama then unfolded. Binder lost the rear heading into Turn 8 and that forced him to run wide and into the gravel, as the South African crashed out of third. That promoted Zarco to P3.

Binder cruelly crashes out of the podium places in Germany

Did the decisive moment of the Grand Prix come with 10 laps to go? Bagnaia decided it was time to take the lead at Turn 12, now how would Martin respond? After two laps, the #1 couldn’t shake off the #89. At the same corner, with six to go, Martin returned the favour. The top two in the title chase were embroiled in a fascinating fight in the Ring, now it was Bagnaia’s turn to show what punches he had left.

Two more laps passed us by and it was as you were – Martin leading Bagnaia by 0.2s. On Lap 27 of 30, it couldn’t get any closer between the pair. Martin defended well down the hill to not allow Bagnaia through into Turn 12, as they entered Lap 28 locked together.

Penultimate lap time. Martin vs Bagnaia. A King of the Ring crown up for grabs. Martin went defensive into Turn 1 as Bagnaia nearly runs into the back of Martin at Turn 3. This was so close. Millimetres in it.

As they came onto the last lap, CONTACT! Bagnaia was forced to sit up after hitting the rear wheel of Martin but did that cost him the chance of victory? 0.3s was in it halfway around the lap. The climb up the hill was crucial but Bagnaia wasn’t close enough into Turn 12. 80 seconds after the contact, Turn 13 reared its head. Martin went defensive. Bagnaia opted for a wider, sweeping line and up the hill for the final time, it was Martin vs Bagnaia on the run to the line.

Martin edged it by a slender 0.064s as a wonderful battle lights up the Sachsenring, with the Spaniard cutting Bagnaia’s title advantage to 16 points. 6.9s away from the victory scrap, Zarco claimed P3 for the third race in succession, as replays showed the #5 nearly crashed at Turn 1 on the final lap.

Important points secured

Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) picked his way through the pack to a solid P4 after a tricky weekend, the Italian finishes 3.4s ahead of teammate Marini. Miller was 0.2s off P5 to finish P6, as Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) rounded out the top 10.

P11 went the way of Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) who finished ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ duo Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, as Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) picked up the final points in P14 and P15.

Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was forced to retire after his RS-GP encountered an issue in the early stages of the Grand Prix.

“After two years, it’s finally come!” – MotoGP™ podium react

The Cathedral awaits

A maximum 37 points means it’s a perfect weekend for Martin in Germany, and it also means the title picture changes ahead of a trip to The Cathedral of Speed: Assen. 16 points split leader Pecco to Martin as we head to the always fantastic Dutch TT.

Top 10:

1. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.064
3. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 7.013
4. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 8.430
5. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 11.679
6. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 11.904
7. Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 14.040
8. Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 14.859
9. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 17.061
10. Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) + 19.648

Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland: MotoGP™ Race

It’s main event time at the Sachsenring as lights go out in Round 7 of the 2023 Championship –

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