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MotoGP Sachsenring: Gossip, intrigue and rumour

Cal Crutchlow once again fell victim to the overheating front tyre that Marc Marquez seems to be able to find a way around, crashing out of the Sachsenring MotoGP race while looking like he might squeak a podium challenge.

Crutchlow had gone out on the hardest-available front Michelin but, as with other races this year - having to ride in the pack with no fresh air means he runs out of grip as the rubber fries itself while Marquez is able to get himself in a position where he can cool the front and doesn’t run into trouble.

“The front tyre was too hot, too much pressure, same story when we are in a group. “I knew what was happening, but I’ve had it in a lot of races this year and had to manage it. Today unfortunately I didn’t.


“We looked at the data and three laps earlier I went in faster than I did on that lap! It is a grip issue from the front tyre being too hot. We try all the tricks of the trade to pull out of the slipstream, to not sit behind the other guys and try to turn later or tighter to avoid the heat.”

With Dani Pedrosa’s retirement now official, the queue for the remaining seat at Petronas Yamaha is now longer than Ian Wheeler’s Goodwood bar tab. Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith and possibly Michael van der Mark are all in the frame but young Italian Fabio Quartararo emerged as favourite for it in Germany.

The teenager was hailed as a new Marquez after CEV Moto3 titles at 14 and 15 but his pace stumbled before he won the Assen Moto2 race on a Speed Up. He has already signed, or is close to signing, a deal with the SIC-run team to join Franky Morbidelli.

Monster and Red Bull will go head to head for the first time next year as the former steps up as title sponsor for Yamaha. Movistar has stepped down as the factory team’s cheque-signer and the green claw moves from bottom of the fairing to top. It’s like fag sponsorship all over again, although hopefully the factories will have something in place when this stuff gets banned.

Monster athlete Maverick Vinales will lead the crew chief go round for 2019 as he replaces Ramon Forcada with KTM’s Esteban Garcia. Vinales has been winless now for more than a year and believes a change is required. It led to speculation that Forcada could oust Silvano Galbusera in Rossi’s side of the garage but this has been denied.

Forcada might have found a home with old friend Jorge Lorenzo but it looks like Ramon Aurin will be his number cruncher which also leaves Giacomo Guidotti on the dole while Lorenzo’s chief Cristian Gabbarini will get young gun Pecco Bagnaia in the Pramac Ducati team run by Guidotti’s brother Francesco. We do know who will be Joan Mir’s chief but we’re not allowed to say for fear of ending up sleeping with the fishes…

Danilo Petrucci branded Jorge Lorenzo - who he replaces in the works Ducati team next season - as ‘not clever’ after the two had a brief fight for third place before they were caught and passed by Vinales. Lorenzo ran out of tyre but was determined not to let Petrucci past which led to some interesting defensive tactics.

“On the Sachsenring you have louder left turns, so he got problems with the front tyre. That he always chose this long line in turn one was not clever of him, even Rossi has overtaken him there. I do not know what he was thinking,” said the Italian.

Marc VDS rider coach Stefan Prein - winner of the 1990 Yugoslavian 125GP if you didn’t know - believes his Bradl-surnamed namesake is good enough for a place in MotoGP. A shame, then, the team won’t be staying in the class.

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