The program of the Sachsenring Grand Prix 60 years ago, when Germany was still divided after the Second World War. This year’s raffle prizes were extremely attractive to visitors. First prize was an MZ 125, second was a television set (with antenna) and third was a so-called two-man tent with an air mattress.

GP of Germany with World Championship round 7

With the German Grand Prix on the Sachsenring, the MotoGP continues in traditional cities just one week after the Italian GP in Mugello. Of course, today’s route has almost nothing in common with the street circuit of the time. Only the finish curve with the following start-finish straight and the enthusiasm of the population remained. In our opinion, the catering options are also unique in the world and we have already been guests on many continents and at countless courses, which is why we can take this claim as certain. Actually, there is no comparable race track in the world and the organization can definitely be described as exemplary. This time we are thinking of arriving by e-bike instead of by motorbike or car, as we are stationed in nearby Chemnitz for the GP weekend and a speed pedelec fits in perfectly with the zeitgeist. In contrast to almost all other routes, we are happy to leave the parking lot to other interested visitors.

Start of the 250 cc GP at the Sachsenring in 1968 On the far left Phil Read next to his Yamaha and to his right teammate Bill Ivy, already sitting on his bike. A year later, the little crowd favorite from England died under tragic circumstances on his 350 factory Jawa after a fall during training. For more on Ivy and the early years of racing see our richly illustrated history.

Hohenstein-Ernstthal and the number of viewers records

The number of visitors in the 1950s and 60s cannot be reliably reproduced with any degree of accuracy, but in the best years around 1950 it is said to have been over 400,000. On our page under the heading “Racetracks – Europe” we go into the history of this traditional race in more detail than in this preview. The official figures for the last few decades, which are always officially stated cumulatively over all three weekend days from Friday, are considered to be reliable. In 2022, the MotoGP round at the Sachsenring even set a new spectator record in modern times, when 232,202 fans found their way to the track. This is the second time since 2011 that the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland surpassed the sensational mark of 230,000 spectators in the third millennium. Thanks to an attractive supporting program, a very good result can be expected again in 2023, which is largely due to the enthusiasm of the population. In comparison to the other events in Europe and overseas, one can say that there is nothing comparable. A must for true fans of two-wheel racing.

Aerial view of the Sachsenring, the shortest circuit on the calendar, yet often with the most visitors and a very special layout with the famous Omega in the middle of the picture. This is followed by the longest left-hander of all Grand Prix circuits for the drivers in an anti-clockwise direction, before the third right-hander comes, as the last of only three on this unique driving safety circuit (© ADAC).

The characteristics of the new Sachsenring

In contrast to the original course, which was usually held on public roads at the time, the new route was primarily designed as a traffic safety center. Nobody even remotely thought seriously about holding Grand Prix races and yet this later became true. Due to numerous improvements after the reopening, however, it was possible to establish the Sachsenring, which is only 3.671 kilometers long, on the calendar. With 3 right and 10 left turns, it is a very narrow race track of 12 meters wide. The longest straight is start-finish with a length of just 700 meters. The pit facility was improved for the 2001 season. Thanks to the fact that the Hohenstein-Ernstthal circuit is the shortest in MotoGP, spectators see more race laps than anywhere else. The premier class has over 30 laps, Moto2 has 28 and Moto3 still has 27. So far fastest race lap was set by Marc Marquez in 2019, with 1:21.228 minutes and thus an average speed of 162.6 km/h, in his penultimate victory for Honda at the German GP. This makes the Sachsenring one of the slowest circuits, together with Valencia. The average there is just 161.2 km/h, driven in the 2016 race by Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha.

The new circuit with the characteristic omega (turns 3 to 5) and the most extreme ratio between left and right turns of any current GP circuit. From curve no. 4 to no. 12, you always go around to the left.
From the program booklet for the 1953 Sachsenring race, the status of the GDR championship with the three IFA (later renamed MZ) motorcycles. The race was won by Horst Fügner ahead of teammate Bernhard “Petrus” Petruschke and private driver Willi Richter from Roßlau on an old DKW. This company had its production facility in Zschopau before the Second World War and was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer in the 1930s. What was left of the workshops after the war became IFA and later MZ. For more on the golden years of riders like Petrushke and Fügner see our history on this page.

The balance of the current MotoGP riders and the winner statistics

Looking at the stats there can only be one winner next weekend and that’s Marc Marquez. If he wins, his record has remained flawless since 2013, otherwise he destroys his unique success rate in Saxony. With a total of four falls in the last three races, only a few optimists would still bet on the Catalans. It’s more a question of which lap he’ll end up in the grass or gravel bed this time, but we didn’t see any such betting opportunities on offer anywhere. In any case, there could also be a new winner, for the first time since 2012 when Dani Pedrosa won for the third consecutive year. Only Fabio Quartararo remains from the previous winners apart from Marquez, but he too is currently regarded as an absolute outsider for the German GP. The problems for Yamaha were too big in the first 6 laps, especially in qualifying, for many to bet on the fast French this time. The statistics below show the winners and podium finishes over the last few years, as well as the winners in the middle and smallest classes.

The history of the races in Saxony goes back to the years before the Second World War and more about this can be found in our route presentation, as well as our constantly growing history. We have just presented Rudi Felsenheier, one of the unfortunately forgotten stars of the early post-war years. As a West German, he was successful in what was then East Germany in a 125 cc DKW when he entered the list of winners at the Sachsenring.

What can riders and fans expect at the race in Saxony

To get straight to the point, Stefan Bradl can be expected again in MotoGP at the Sachsenring. The German is likely to be used for LCR as a replacement for Alex Rins, who is out with a double broken leg. The track awaiting the drivers is one of the most extreme on the calendar. No other course is shorter and has such an unequal ratio with only 3 right turns versus 10 left corners. In addition, it is one of the few circuits that is driven counterclockwise, which was also the case on the old Sachsenring, with which the new circuit only has a finish curve and a start-finish straight in common. There is almost no respite for the drivers and of course more laps than anywhere else. Seven pilots from the premier class did not finish their last race there due to a crash. There is definitely more than enough excitement. According to the current forecast, the weather should play along at least at the weekend, while it could still be wet on Friday. But the main thing is that the prices are not as damn expensive as in Mugello, which annoyed even drivers like Jack Miller after noticing that the basic tickets were more than twice as expensive as at Le Mans.

Photographed by us on location at turn 6 on race Sunday in mid-July 2018. The atmosphere in Hohenstein-Ernstthal is absolutely unique and we don’t know of any other event where the majority of spectators remain present out of respect and interest in their performance, even for pilots unknown to the support races. In the background the grandstand for the first corner.
A poster from the darker years of German history for the race on the Sachsenring, a year before the outbreak of war and a long break that followed, after which nothing was the same as before. In the last year of motorsport, 1939, the Germans were one of the most successful nations of all, and with DKW (the bike with the man in the foreground of this graphic) and BMW, their plants were also at the forefront.

The World Championship status in all classes after the 6th round in Mugello

Schedule for the Grand Prix of Germany · Calendar – 2023 Germany

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).