One week on from the Dutch TT, the Moto2 World Championship is in Sachsenring for the German Grand Prix, round nine of the 2019 season.
Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) arrives in Germany straight off the back of his first win in Grand Prix racing. The Spaniard finished fifteenth at Sachsenring last season, his first visit to the German track, which is a unique one on the calendar and therefore difficult to learn. With three podiums to his name so far in 2019, including that debut win last time out, Fernandez will be keen to fight in the top five once again this weekend.
Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) has done what Tom Luthi does this year, and that is to be consistent. The Swiss has not finished outside the top six this season, with his worst result coming in Argentina when he clipped the back wheel of Brad Binder’s Red Bull KTM Ajo machine and crashed out of the race. However, if Luthi is to truly fight for the championship he needs to increase the frequency of his wins, as with one to his name so far this year he has two less than his closest rival Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).
Marquez was on for another podium, and possibly win, in Assen last time out before he was the unfortunate victim of Lorenzo Baldassarri’s crash when the Flexbox HP 40 rider tried to pass him. There was no malice in the move from Baldassarri, who went to apologise to his rival after the race, but it dented both of their respective title challenges with Luthi claiming the lead thanks to his fourth place. Despite his brother’s unparalleled success in Germany – Marc having won nine times in the last nine years at Sachsenring – Alex Marquez has never stepped upon the podium at Sachsenring – the closest he has come so far to doing so was in 2014 when he finished fourth on his way to the Moto3 world title. Marquez’ best finish in Moto2 in Germany is a thirteenth place last year, when he was passed for twelfth by a recovering Francesco Bagnaia in the final corner, whilst he crashed out in 2016 and 2017 (with some physical consequence in the latter) and finished outside the points in 2015.
Lorenzo Baldassarri’s non-finish in Assen was not what the Italian needed as he aimed to get back on track after slipping to fourth in the championship in Barcelona following his unbroken topping of the points between Qatar and Italy. Baldassarri crashed out of last year’s German Grand Prix, and like Marquez he has never finished in the top three in Germany, with his best result coming in 2016 when he finished fifth. A strong finish this weekend will be crucial for the Italian to go into the summer break with a good mindset, which will be important for the second half of the season if he wants to re-engage in the championship fight.
Brad Binder took KTM’s first Moto2 podium of 2019 last time out in Assen, their first since Miguel Oliveira won in Valencia last year. Binder also won in Sachsenring last year, and after a positive weekend in Holland it will be important for the Austrian marque, and Binder, to confirm what seemed to be a significant step forward at round eight.
Featured Image courtesy of KF GLAENZEL/Intact GP