Martin wins German MotoGP sprint race to stem Bagnia run

Jorge Martin celebrates his German MotoGP sprint race win (Radek Mica)
Jorge Martin celebrates his German MotoGP sprint race win (Radek Mica)

Series leader Jorge Martin won the German MotoGP sprint race on Saturday to extend his lead in the championship and end a run of five successive victories by main rival Francesco Bagnaia.

Martin, who earlier took pole, slipped to third on the first of the 15 laps but soon regained the lead and the Spanish Ducati-Pramac rider was untroubled from then on to repeat his win from last year.

Portugal's Miguel Oliveira finished second and Bagnaia -- who had won the previous two sprints and three MotoGPs -- third.

Martin now leads Italy's double world champion Bagnaia by 15 points going into Sunday's main event, one of the rare races conducted on an anti-clockwise circuits.

Martin, who moves to Aprilia next year, wore a beaming smile, as he got off his bike, something which has been rare over the past few weeks.

"That was an amazing race for sure," said Martin, who did the double last year.

"It was very difficult as one knows it is really strange here.

"We had to manage the wind as well.

"However, I was confident today even if we were so close at times.

"I am really really happy and hopefully tomorrow we can win again," added the 26-year-old.

Bagnaia, 25, was satisfied with his podium finish as the team engineers had had to work on his Ducati factory bike overnight having struggled on Friday.

"After yesterday I am very happy now and I hope it will be even better for tomorrow," said Bagnaia, who starts from the second row on Sunday.

For Oliveira Saturday was a rare bright moment in a tough season as he finished second in qualifying and then celebrated his first ever sprint race podium on his Aprilia.

"This is a very very good feeling," said the 29-year-old.

"After qualifying I felt I had a good possibility to finish on the podium in the sprint.

"It is not easy when you are usually in midfield to fight with the big boys.

"However, I hung on in there and did not put a foot wrong, hopefully tomorrow I will have another good result."

The race for the honours may have been dull but it was anything but further down the field.

The six-time world champion Marc Marquez produced a superb performance to storm from 13th to sixth.

Marquez, who has won a record eight German MotoGPs, managed this despite a broken left index finger and a bruised ribcage following a heavy fall on Friday.