The ninth round of the MotoGP took place at Germany’s Sachsenring, a circuit favoured by Honda and the last place where Honda finished with a one-two result.
Defending world champion Marc Marquez started from pole position with team-mate Dani Pedrosa and compatriot Jorge Lorenzo alongside the front row.
It was Yamaha’s Lorenzo, (who is just ten points behind leader Valentino Rossi in the championship), who took the lead from the first corner trying to pull away from the Repsol Hondas in second and third. Ducati’s Andrea Iannone stayed in the front bunch in fourth place but with Rossi close on his heels, he conceded his position to the nine-times world champion and the battle for the win between Honda and Yamaha began from the second lap.
Both Repsol Hondas chose hard front tyres, while both Yamaha M1s went with the asymmetric front and in the opening laps Marquez was biting at the rear of Lorenzo. He smoothly overtook on lap three and very quickly put a second of distance between them.
Simultaneously Rossi had caught Pedrosa and claimed fourth place, putting the Yamahas next to each other creating a four-point difference between them. By lap five, Rossi made his move and after changing places a few times, Rossi kept the lead over his team-mate and had Marquez in his sights. It was not to be for the title contender, though, as Pedrosa fought past Lorenzo on lap 10, closing in on Rossi midway through the race. With twelve laps to go, Pedrosa swiftly tucked his RC213V under Rossi and fought hard to keep second place for the rest of the race, taking the chequered flag 2.226 seconds behind the race winning Marquez.
"I felt better with the soft tyre, but I thought we’d need the hard for the full 30 laps," said Marquez. "I am happy this weekend because we made first completely, [pole position and the win] and I am happy going into the holidays with this win, but we continue to work had as I want to be better for the second half of the championship.
"Nothing is impossible but we need to try and win in Indianapolis. We have a test in Misano in the holidays and we’ll try to improve in the traction area."
Making it a Honda one-two for the first time this year, Pedrosa added: "It was a difficult race as from the beginning I couldn’t fight at the front and get the pace. I was immediately back to fourth and had issues with my settings but by the middle of the race, the tank was more empty and I felt more comfortable.
"I managed to pass [Lorenzo] and [Rossi], though the Yamaha is strong and I pushed more and more at the end so this is a good result. I hope from here, if we can set up the bike like this, we can be more competitive in the second half of the championship.
"My arm is getting better and better, this track isn’t a problem because of all the left hand turns and the injury is on the right. We are stronger than Yamaha at this track so we still need to work a lot at the [forthcoming] Honda test."
At the half-way point of the season Valentino Rossi is leading - since 1998 it’s been the leader of the standings who has won the title. Taking the third step of the podium, finishing one place ahead of his team-mate, Rossi now sits 13 points ahead going into the holidays.
"It was not a perfect race, I think Dani had something in his pocket," said the Italian. "I was at the limit and I kept the rhythm, but Dani did two laps so fast that we had to suffer compared to the Honda’s. I gave 110 per cent in the last few laps but we have another podium. I gained three points on Jorge which is important for championship, but we wait for a better track for the M1."
For the Brits, Oxfordshire man Bradley Smith got a good start on his Tech 3 Yamaha, from ninth on the grid to seventh place immediately. Overtaking Pramac Ducati rider Yonny Hernandez to take sixth, he tried to hunt down the factory Ducati of Iannone.
Having gone through his left knee slider to his leathers though, he managed to close the gap and hold off Cal Crutchlow to finish in sixth as top British rider in the race and in the Championship. Cal Crutchlow qualified in tenth place on his LCR Honda and climbed up to seventh place finishing 6.6 seconds behind Smith. Iannone kept fifth position and a gap of 2.5 seconds to Smith. Fellow Italian and Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso however, crashed on lap 15 hitting the wall but walking away with no injury.
Earlier in Moto3, British rider Danny Kent started from pole position and by the third lap led by 0.4 seconds. He went on to take his fifth win of the season from teammate Efrén Vazquez by 7.554 seconds. He extends his lead in the championship by 66 points going into the summer break.
The next race will take place at Indianapolis on 9 August, shown live on BTSport2.