3 Things We Learned From the 2024 German MotoGP

The 2024 German MotoGP was the final round before the summer break, and Jorge Martin’s late crash had huge implications ahead of three weeks off

Jorge Martin leads 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose
Jorge Martin leads 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

After nine rounds in 2024, MotoGP heads into its summer break with its reigning champion controlling the points standings.

On its own, it’s a pretty dull picture that’s painted, but the reality is far different. Three riders are still in contention for the 2024 title, and they all displayed both their strengths and their weaknesses in Germany.

Martin still fallible

Jorge Martin, 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose
Jorge Martin, 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

Jorge Martin’s fallibility appeared to have gone away at the beginning of the year. While Marc Marquez was getting up to speed on the Ducati, and Francesco Bagnaia was struggling to find the pace to put him on the podium, Martin was banking points, not making mistakes, and extending his championship advantage. 

After he won the Spanish Sprint, Martin was 29 points in the lead, over Pedro Acosta, while Bagnaia was 29 points behind and Marquez 52 back. By now, though, Martin’s lead has been overturned, and after Germany, he faces a 10-point deficit to Bagnaia.

Why? Well, a lot of it is Bagnaia’s speed, which saw him win five races (including Sprints) in succession between the Catalan Grand Prix and the Dutch TT, but some of it is also Martin’s mistakes.

The first came in the Spanish Grand Prix, which came as he had seemingly weathered the storm from Bagnaia, whose front tyre pressure was about to increase outside of the optimum window. Martin’s crash on that occasion left Bagnaia to battle Marquez for victory, something he did successfully. The second error came in the Italian Sprint while on course for a podium, and the third came last weekend in the German Grand Prix. It means that, since the beginning of the European season, Martin is averaging a mistake every second round, and two of those errors have directly handed Bagnaia GP wins.

Bagnaia, after nine rounds, now has six Grand Prix victories this year to Martin’s two, and it’s not hard to see how they should really be at four-a-piece. Were it so, Martin’s 10-point deficit would be a 50-point advantage.

Bagnaia’s moment

Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose
Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

Francesco Bagnaia did not have a great start to 2024, with only one podium from the first three Grands Prix. But, since the Spanish Grand Prix at the end of April, things have turned around for the three-time World Champion.

Bagnaia crashed out of the Sprint in Spain after contact with Brad Binder but then put in one of his best-ever performances to win from seventh on the grid in the race on Sunday. The French Grand Prix was a dud for Bagnaia with a mechanical problem in the Sprint having knock-on effects for the GP, and then there was a crash from the lead on the final lap of the Catalan Sprint. But the speed was there, and finally, in the Catalan Grand Prix, Bagnaia made it pay, winning the first of what is now four in succession.

It’s the second time Bagnaia has won four races in a row after he dominated the middle of the 2022 season, and now, like then, it has come at precisely the right time. 

Bagnaia’s 2022 streak came after he crashed out of the German Grand Prix and fell 91 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo. Those wins brought him back into contention, and he went on to win the title. This time, Bagnaia has taken 49 points out of Jorge Martin since falling to 39 points behind after his Catalan Sprint crash.

Bagnaia’s latest victory might have only come, in the end, because of a Jorge Martin crash, but it was Bagnaia who was applying the pressure, and the result going the way it did seems only to confirm that it is currently very much Bagnaia’s moment.

Execution costing Marquez

Marc Marquez, 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose
Marc Marquez, 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

Marc Marquez has won 11 times at the Sachsenring, including eight premier-class wins. The #93, therefore, had rightly earned the moniker “SachsenKing”, and it, therefore, seemed as though the German venue would play host to his first victory for the Gresini Ducati team.

From the beginning of the weekend, though, this began to look increasingly unlikely.

First, there was a technical problem with his first bike in FP1, then there was his huge turn 11 high-side in Practice, then there was the resulting broken finger and heavily bruised ribs, then there was missing Q2, then there was being blocked by Stefan Bradl in Q1, and then there was his airbag going off in contact with Franco Morbidelli in the Grand Prix. In short, there was a lot.

The biggest moment was of course that Practice high-side at turn 11, where he lost the front but was flung over the top because of his efforts to save the crash. The injuries which came from it subdued Marquez’ performance until the final 10 laps of the Grand Prix when he finally pulled the pin and chased the podium.

The crash was also the reason for him missing Q2, and that ultimately conditioned his race and limited the result he could achieve.

It was also not the first time it’s happened this year, after he was forced to come from 14th on the grid in both France and Catalunya. Add that to a scrappy Assen weekend that yielded six points and a Spanish Grand Prix that saw him miss two opportunities to win, and it’s possible to conclude that — surprisingly — Marc Marquez’ execution is what’s costing him this year. Not that he’s alone in that.

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