Spain’s Marc Marquez has won his second race of the season at the German MotoGP on Sunday and grabbed the championship lead.
The Honda rider took advantage of the absence of two countrymen who were ahead of him in the standings; defending champion Jorge Lorenzo and previous leader Dani Pedrosa. Both were hurt in practice and could not race Sunday.
Marquez started from pole and took the lead for good on the sixth lap.
Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow of Britain finished 1.5 seconds behind and nine-time champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, who led briefly at the start of the race, was 9.6 seconds back in third.
“The start wasn’t that good but I was able to recover, although I didn’t expect to control the race that well,” Marquez said.
The Spaniard now leads the championship series by two points over Pedrosa.
Pedrosa sustained a hairline fracture in his collarbone in Saturday’s crash in practice and was declared unfit to race.
Lorenzo crashed on Friday and required surgery to repair a damaged titanium plate inserted in his shoulder after he broke his left collarbone two weeks ago at the Assen GP in the Netherlands.
Marquez dropped to fourth at the start but was in front by the end of the sixth lap.
Rossi, who won the Assen race, was in the lead briefly before being passed by Germany’s Stefan Bradl before the first lap was over.
The Italian nearly lost control of his Yamaha early in the race.
“I thought more would be possible but I struggled with rear grip and Marc and Cal were faster,” Rossi said.
Crutchlow got past Rossi halfway into the 30-lap race.
“I didn’t have rear grip, I think like Valentino, for the first 10 laps or so,” said Crutchlow, who had crashed heavily twice on Friday and raced with injuries to his arms, hands and left leg.
Crutchlow became the first British rider since Barry Sheene in 1982 to collect four podium finishes in one season.
Marquez’s victory capped a perfect day for Spanish riders. Jordi Torres won the Moto2 race and Alex Rins led a Spanish sweep of the podium in the Moto3.