Marquez makes absences count

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Honda’s Marc Marquez hit the summit of the MotoGP standings after taking advantage of the absence of both Dani ­Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to win at Sachsenring.

Title rivals Pedrosa and ­Lorenzo were both ruled out of the race after practice crashes, leaving Marquez to come through for the second win of his debut season. Cal Crutchlow came home just 1.5 seconds down to take second place for Tech 3 Yamaha – but his wait to become the first British ­winner in the premier class since Barry Sheene in 1981 goes on.

Lorenzo’s Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi took third ahead of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, with Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista fifth and Britain’s Bradley Smith sixth on the second Tech 3 Yamaha. Marquez now leads the championship by two points from Pedrosa, with Lorenzo nine further back. Crutchlow is not out of the championship picture as he sits just 31 points behind Marquez.

Marquez failed to make the most of his pole position start and found himself fourth in the early running as Rossi led into turn one. Crutchlow, too, made a poor start and ran down in fifth early on, but both men were soon on the move. By lap six Marquez was back in front after passing Aleix Espargaro, Rossi and Bradl, who nevertheless delighted the German crowd by briefly leading his home race.

Rossi dispatched Bradl for third on lap nine, but Crutchlow followed in his wheeltracks and was soon harassing the Italian for second place, which he duly took on lap 16 with a late dive into turn 11. That left the Briton with a clear run at Marquez just two seconds down the road, but the rookie Spaniard was in no mood to let his advantage slip and held station to the flag.

“We did a very good race,” Marquez said. This victory is so important for the championship. It’s a second victory, but in Austin [the scene of his first MotoGP win] I was a little bit happier, because here without Dani and Jorge on the track it’s a little bit different.

Crutchlow, riding in pain after also suffering a heavy fall in practice, was less charitable to Pedrosa and Lorenzo, insisting their absence made no difference to the result. “Even if Dani and Jorge were here I think this would have been the result, I ­really do, because our pace was unbelievable,” he said.