Fabio Quartararo eased to a third MotoGP win of 2022 at the Sachsenring to further extend his series lead as Francesco Bagnaia suffered a second successive DNF.
Quartararo leapt off the line to dive through on pole-man Bagnaia as the field entered Turn 1 for the first time, the Yamaha man desperate to claim the clean air afforded to the leader in the early laps.
Equally keen to establish a lead was Bagnaia, the Ducati pilot diving inside Quartararo at Turn 1 on lap two, though the Italian failed to pull up his Desmosedici and thus allowed the Frenchman to cut back ahead and begin to edge clear over the next couple of tours.
Disaster was just around the corner for Bagnaia however as he lost the rear of his machine on the exit of Turn 1 just a few laps into the encounter, an apoplectic 2021 MotoGP vice-champion left to curse his Ducati as Quartararo was gifted a decent lead over Pramac’s Johann Zarco.
The reigning premier class world champion looked after his medium-compound rear tyre across the remainder of the 30-lap contest to eventually cruise across the line 4.9 seconds ahead of Zarco to further extend his series lead.
Zarco had hoped to utilise the predicted extra late-race grip of the hard rear rubber in the simmering conditions seen on Sunday at the Sachsenring to chase down his countryman, though this never materialised and thus left him to claim a safe second well ahead of fellow Ducati rider Jack Miller.
The Aussie scored his third rostrum of the campaign despite having had to take a long-lap penalty for crashing under yellows during practice, the factory Ducati man forcing Aleix Espargaro into an error in the closing laps to steal the spot.
The Aprilia rider held onto fourth ahead of a charging Luca Marini’s VR46-run Desmosedici, while Jorge Martin ended up sixth on the second Pramac entry.
Brad Binder enjoyed another one of his customary Sunday recovery rides to bag seventh from 15th on the grid for KTM, the South African getting the better of rookie Fabio Di Gianantonio towards the end – though the Gresini rider still scored his best ever MotoGP result with eighth.
Miguel Oliveira was ninth on the second factory KTM, while Enea Bastianini capped off a tough weekend by completing the top ten on his Gresini-run Ducati.
Honda saw its enviable record of winning every race in Germany since 2010 emphatically broken in 2022 after losing three of its four entries after Takaaki Nakagami crashed from the top ten early on, his LCR team-mate Alex Marquez hitting mechanical trouble and Pol Espargaro seemingly pulling out after struggling with his injured ribs in the closing stanza – leaving home hero Stefan Bradl as the only of the brands finishers in 18th.
Maverick Vinales meanwhile saw a potential best Aprilia result go to waste after his rear ride-height device failed to disengage just past mid-distance, the Spaniard having been pushing team-mate Espargaro hard for third before his unfortunate retirement.
Quartararo’s points advantage now stands at a stiff 34 over Espargaro heading into next weekend’s Dutch TT at Assen, with Zarco now moving up to third overall but 61 markers adrift of the Yamaha racer.