Marc Marquez has thus far been unbeatable in the 2014 MotoGP season, and there is very little to suggest he will not stretch his winning streak to nine consecutive grands prix in Germany on Sunday.
Last time out in Assen, a rain-affected race was won easily by the Spaniard. He has taken victory in his last four visits to Germany's Sachsenring across three different classes, including last year's MotoGP win at the track.
The 21-year-old Honda driver currently sits a massive 72 points clear of Valentino Rossi and teammate Dani Pedrosa—tied on 128 points in second—both of whom will finally be looking to make some ground on the standings leader this weekend.
Read on for a full race schedule, live streaming information and a look at the top riders going into the German Grand Prix.
|2014 MotoGP Grand Prix of Germany Schedule|
|Free Practice 3||July 12||8:55 a.m. - 9:40 a.m. BST/3:55 a.m. - 4:40 a.m. ET||BT Sport app (subscription required)|
|Free Practice 4||July 12||12:30 p.m. - 1 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m. ET||BT Sport app (subscription required)|
|Qualifying 1||July 12||1:10 p.m. - 1:25 p.m. BST/8:10 a.m. - 8:25 a.m. ET||BT Sport app (subscription required)|
|Qualifying 2||July 12||1:35 p.m. - 1:50 p.m. BST/8:35 a.m. - 8:50 a.m. ET||BT Sport app (subscription required)|
|Race||July 13||1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET||BT Sport app (subscription required)|
Top Riders to Watch
Veteran Italian rider Rossi heads into the race in Germany having recently signed a two-year extension to his contract with Yamaha.
Having finished fifth in Assen last time out after a bungled strategy in the rain saw him starting from the pits, the 35-year-old is looking to improve for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, and the new contract is a weight off his mind, per motogp.com:
I am very happy to go to the Sachsenring after the contract renewal with Yamaha for another two years. I’ve been saying that we are very close to signing for many races and finally we did it! For me it is really important, I am very happy! At Assen we did a good race but at the Sachsenring we'll try to do better. I like the track; it’s very difficult, very tricky and very small.
Rossi has won four times in MotoGP at the Sachsenring, but his last victory came all the way back in 2009. Since then, the track has witnessed three consecutive victories for Pedrosa and Marquez's triumph last year.
In the championship, Rossi is realistically fighting for second place as the season reaches the halfway stage—Germany represents the ninth outing of the 18-race season—and he will be looking to pip Pedrosa in that fight.
However, there are potential weather concerns for Sunday's race with rain forecast, and the unpredictability caused by such conditions could play into Rossi's hands.
Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo had an absolute nightmare race last time out in Assen, as he finished in 13th position and dropped to fifth in the overall standings on 81 points.
However, as Rossi himself conceded, Lorenzo is one of the best in the business and will no doubt bounce back in Germany, per Crash.net:
“At this moment I am in front of Jorge in the standings and I'm very proud of it because without any doubt he is one of the best."
In a refreshingly honest move, the 27-year-old Spaniard admitted his poor performance in the Netherlands was down to fear of repeating his 2013 crash on the circuit, per MotoMatters.com's David Emmett:
However, without such distractions this weekend he will likely be looking for a return to form in the hope of chasing down his teammate in the standings.
It goes without saying that Marquez is the pick to take victory this weekend and make it nine wins from nine races, edging ever closer to Mike Hailwood's record 12 consecutive victories.
The Spanish youngster has been unstoppable so far this season and looks guaranteed to retain the title he won in his rookie season in 2013.
He has beaten all-comers so far in 2014 and in all different conditions. He won last time out in the rain, proving his ability to adapt to any scenario.
He may need that again in Germany, but based on season form, he simply looks faster and better than the rest of the field.
A win at the Sachsenring—a track at which he has had great success—would move him onto a massive 225 championship points, and if he continues his streak, he will claim the title in Aragon in round 14, no matter what the rest of the field does.
Only a brave—perhaps foolish—man would bet against it, and he can move one step closer with another win on Sunday.