The historic, undulating Sachsenring circuit in eastern Germany played host to Round 8 of the 2021 MotoGP™ championship and saw the sensational end of a long road back to winning form for Honda's Marc Márquez.
After three complex arm surgeries following his crash at the season-opening 2020 Spanish MotoGP™, Márquez has suffered a long and painful journey back to fitness. In one of the most impressive sporting comebacks in recent memory, the six-time premier class champion absolutely bossed the German MotoGP™ for an emotional first win since the end of the 2019 season.
He looked every inch his old self as he resisted pressure from one of this year's stars, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese rider looked to beat Márquez, but couldn't do enough to break the Honda rider's advantage. The winner of the previous race in Catalunya can be satisfied with another visit to the podium, however.
The result means that Márquez becomes the fifth different winner of a GP this year and also that the Honda rider has triumphed every time he's raced at the Sachsenring. That equates to 11 wins in all classes, eight in the premier, at the storied German circuit. More importantly for Márquez, though, it's a just reward for many months of pain and uncertainty.
In qualifying, Pramac Ducati's Johann Zarco claimed a commanding pole position, but on race day the French rider was already down in third by the time the pack exited the opening sequence of tight corners, as Aprilia's Aleix Espargaró snatched the lead, followed by a resurgent Márquez.
At the beginning of lap eight, Miller made his move on Zarco to grab third place and half a lap later Miller was right with second place man Espargaró, just as the widely expected rain finally began to fall lightly. The Australian seized the moment and took over second from the Aprilia rider.
Sensing his opportunity as rain threatened, by lap 10 Márquez had pulled out a 1.5-second lead, as Miller came under heavy pressure from Oliveira. One lap later Márquez had added another couple of tenths to his advantage and Oliveira rode past Miller into second place.
The big question was could the still recovering Márquez maintain his concentration and fitness to hold on at this incredibly physical circuit?
The answer was yes. At the end of lap 30, Márquez claimed his 57th premier class win amid emotional celebrations in the Repsol Honda garage.
Away from Márquez’s remarkable return, Oliveira maintained his and KTM's fantastic run, following up from victory last time in Catalunya to score a third consecutive podium. His team-mate Binder kept up his good form with a fourth place finish, while the factory Ducati of Francesco Bagnaia took fifth ahead of championship hopeful Miller.
Fellow championship challenger and pole position winner Zarco ended up eighth and the French rider will look to get back on track at the next race, the Dutch TT, in just seven days to keep pace in the title fight.