Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Ducati) was in a class of his own in the sprint race – as a privateer, it was not the first time that he left all the factory machines well behind. By contrast, Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, as by far the best-paid pilot in the field on one of his absolute favorite circuits in Saxony, was only a shadow of his best days. Blaming this on the Honda RC213V is more than questionable after Alex Rins’ victory on Round 3 in Austin (Texas/USA). Nevertheless, the majority of all journalists, commentators and so-called experts are currently doing this (© ADAC).

Bagnaia and Marquez badly beaten

Both the world championship leader and Sachsenring serial winner Marquez had something to oppose the unleashed drive of privateer Jorge Martin. As a polesitter, many saw Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia as the favourite, who will start the races from pole position for the second time since last year. In the end he was able to prevail against the initially rebellious Jack Miller, but the reigning world champion had no chance against his Spanish Ducati brand colleague. Marc Marquez also fought with blunt weapons in the Tissot Sprintrace. After numerous falls, the record winner on the shortest course in the calendar did not have the somnambulistic security that is usually needed for victories. 11th place was a slap in the face for the Catalan, as was Fabio Quartararo in 13th. As the winner of 2021, the fast man from Cannes also missed out on the points. After only 7 of 20 rounds, the two can now finally give up their ambitions for the title fight.

The weather wasn’t always as friendly on the first two days as on our recording from Friday morning. On the way here from Chemnitz by eBike, it even rained briefly, which was partly repeated on Saturday. Like many German fans, we were wondering about the whereabouts of Honda reserve and test driver Stefan Bradl.

Where is Bradl?

While we prefer to remain silent about the results of Jonas Folger as a long-term replacement for Pol Espargaró, who was seriously injured in his Friday season-opener crash in Portugal, we weren’t the only ones wondering about the whereabouts of his compatriot Bradl. With the two Spaniards Joan Mir and Alex Rins, Honda suffered two injuries from the sixth lap of Mugello. The people in charge at Honda obviously preferred to refrain from the idea of replacing one of the two with Stefan Bradl. The viewers of Servus TV found out that he will be used in Assen. For the Austrian, who will probably not be able to broadcast MotoGP next season, the Bavarian usually acts as a co-commentator, which is why he was also present at the Sachsenring. It’s a pity for the numerous German fans that he, instead of Folger, wasn’t able to achieve a result that could pass as halfway appealing.

One of the best spots for fans photographed by us during Moto3 practice. The short straight before the last corner offers the last chance for an attack on the final lap. In 2017, Jonas Folger surpassed himself as a Tech 3 Yamaha privateer at the Sachsenring and, after a sensational race, finished second behind winner Marc Marquez (Honda). Unfortunately, a burn-out towards the end of the season ended one of the most promising careers in German racing. Unfortunately, the German fans and their heroes can only dream of performances like 6 years ago. Neither Germany nor Switzerland nor Austria currently have a rider in Moto3, Moto2 or MotoGP.

The eternal wait for Pol
Incidentally, the absence of GasGas-KTM Hope Espargaró until at least late summer is no surprise, at least for realists. Only those who still believe people like his Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal dreamed of an earlier return of the Catalan sunny boy. But vertebral injuries are not to be trifled with, something Sandro Cortese can tell you a little about after his terrible crash at the Autodromo do Algarve. In this respect, the eternal wait for Pol was actually to be expected, despite Poncharal’s much too optimistic words, despite the Frenchman’s repeated hopes of a speedy return to the press. Unfortunately, dealing with the truth in the MotoGP paddock is an increasingly difficult exercise. See also Dorna’s statement when the 2023 MotoGP calendar was announced, when Kazakhstan and India were presented as new events. It was supposed to be 21 laps, which was a new record. At the moment, however, it is not even certain whether the Indian Grand Prix will become a reality after the Kazakh event has been eliminated.

Unfortunately, the only part of the traditional Sachsenring circuit that still exists today can hardly be seen by visitors without a grandstand ticket. The Queckenberg curve with the rising start-finish straight is one of the key points and Marc Marquez also lay down a little later at the point we photographed.

General impressions of the weekend opener at the Sachsenring

It wasn’t just because of Jonas Folger’s performance that we felt so much more comfortable here as spectators and fans 6 years ago. Even after that until 2019 we found it more pleasant as a visitor. Anyone who simply buys a grandstand ticket, like most people, usually stays there. For many, including us, this is not enough. Anyone who likes to walk around the track, as in Jerez de la Frontera, Le Mans or Barcelona, will be bitterly disappointed at the Sachsenring. On the one hand, this is not even possible here and on the other hand, compared to previous years, a halfway clear view of what is happening is only possible in a few places. Similar to Mugello, one can hardly shake the impression that in many places it feels more like a funfair than a sporting event. Everyone can think what they want about the so-called action on the infamous Ankerberg or in the camping area of Tuscany. However, it is difficult to see differences to so-called party miles like in Mallorca or similar places. However, we will at least have positive memories of the enthusiasm of the local population. That’s why Saxony should definitely keep this event.

The interest in the Red Bull racing circuit seemed very modest. Of course, one can also ask oneself what something like this is supposed to be and whether it is even necessary on a race weekend that is actually exciting from a sporting point of view. In any case, we thankfully gave up and instead devoted our interest to visiting the few observation points along the route that are still accessible today after we had taken this picture.

What can we expect on Sunday?

At least Marc Marquez has definitely been one of the outsiders since this season and this is a small sensation in Saxony. After his crash in the first corner in the second free practice session, many observers are wondering how his state of mind is. Johann Zarco, who was only able to avoid a serious injury with a lot of skill and luck, cleared his Honda. But not that, but the strange reaction of the Spaniard afterwards gave food for thought. The Frenchman was unharmed but was later accused by Marquez of being responsible for the incident. This and the fact that the angry Honda man in front of him almost fell after an attack on the best time gone wrong and then stuck his finger in the camera on his bike shows the new Marc of 2023. If he is also unsuccessful on Sunday, missed he is one of the last chances of the year to win and the superstar spoiled by victory obviously can’t cope with that. This time we’re betting on Johann Zarco in MotoGP and we’ll be surprised who will be on top of the podium in the smaller classes. It’s going to be dramatic one way or the other and unfortunately there are far too many injuries this season. Only 7 pilots from the premier class remained without serious injuries in the first third of the season. Hopefully their number will not increase further at the German Grand Prix.

The entrance to the so-called Omega with the first of 10 left-hand bends in the foreground. In the background the Ankerberg with a campsite where fans who like to sleep early in the night should not camp. Ducati ace Johann Zarco was bumped into by Brad Binder on lap 1 of the sprint race in the Omega right corner, dropping him to P8 and then struggling to fight his way back to fifth. Among other things, he managed to get past the South African again, and for once he was also able to overtake him quite ruthlessly.

The World Championship standings after the sprint race · GP RESULTS – 2023 MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX DEUTSCHLAND MotoGP SPR WorldStanding-sprint

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

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