This is the track of the Cannibal, who won us 11 consecutive times and the last one last year, despite his bad right arm: without Marc Marquez, left to be treated at home after yet another surgery on his humerus, Sunday will be a ‘else. But in just under a century, the Sachsenring has given us records, feats and equally suggestive stories. Especially in the seventies, when the circuit – we are in deep Saxony, then the German Democratic Republic: the old Karl Marx-Stadt, now called Chemnitz, is 10 kilometers away – was the only one beyond the Wall where even the pilots of the Communist bloc. Among them, also a Cuban from Havana: José Peón said Pepper, riding a 125 cc MZ-RE – motorcycle produced in nearby Zwickau, the paradise of the Trabants – he finished seventh in the July 1970 grand prix. Better than him were some Russians, who challenged champions such as Giacomo Agostini with robust Vostoks ( 6 wins with MV Agusta) and Mike Hailwood. Unfortunately, talent and courage were not enough: too much, the difference in quality and power with Western bikes. And then in 1972, a year after yet another “censored” defeat – a German on the other side, Dieter Braun, won: the West German national anthem could only be heard at the finish line, because the loudspeakers around the track were all muted – the GDR government said enough: no more global, Agostini and Hailwood. Only the Communist drivers on the track. Until the collapse of the Wall. When they all started racing again in 1991, the 500cc success was for the American Kevin Schwantz.
Adolf Hitler on stage. And that primacy of Dorino Serafini
The first race, in May 1927, was held on the streets of Hohenstein-Ernstthal, the town close to the current track: a motorcycle race in these parts seemed an oddity for a few enthusiasts. The spectators were 130 thousand. The following year more, but 40 serious accidents were recorded and the races were suspended. They resumed a few years later on a real track and in 1937, when the circuit was renamed Sachsenring, Adolf Hitler was also on stage. Among the heroes of the time James Guthrie, who died in an accident after winning twice, and Dorino Serafini from Pesaro (many years later he also raced in Formula One with Ferrari), who kept the speed record (146.40 km / h) until the outbreak of the Second World War From 1949, with the first world of motorcycling, the Sachsenring became a fundamental stage of the championship: 380 thousand fans at the first race, even 480 thousand in the following season. According to the chronicles of the time, motorcycling could be “a healthy form of entertainment without risk for the crowds”. The only ones who really managed to keep up with the western drivers were the Czechs – sometimes we also raced in Brno, in the current Czech Republic -: adventurous people like Gustav Havel, who mounted a Java, was third in the 350cc world championship in ’61. and he too died in a car accident in front of the Bohemians stadium in Prague. Then Frantisek Bartos and Vaclav Bobek: until the Spring of 1968 they were the only ones who had the opportunity to race throughout Europe. The towers and installations remained in wood until less than 30 years ago.
Timetables: it starts on Friday at 9, Sunday MotoGP at 14
For the German GP, the track starts on Friday at 9 am, when the first day of free practice for Moto3 begins: they last 40 minutes, then at 9.55 – and until 10.40 – it’s up to the MotoGP. The Moto2 Fp1 starts at 10.55. In the afternoon, second session for Moto3 at 1.15pm, at 2.10pm it’s the turn of Quartararo and rivals, Moto2 wing at 3.10pm. Saturday morning dedicated to Fp3: we start at 9 with the Moto3, at 9.55 with the MotoGP, at 10.55 with the Moto2. Then it’s time for qualifying: the Q1s of the Moto3 run from 12.35 to 12.50, the Q2s from 13 to 13.15. From 1.30 pm, half an hour of time for MotoGP and the fourth free practice session, followed by 15 minutes of Q1 starting at 2.10 pm. The start at Q2 of the premier class, and again for a quarter of an hour, at 2.35pm. Moto2 qualifying is scheduled from 3.10 pm. Races on Sunday, but warm up in the morning: 10 minutes for Moto3 and Moto2 (at 9, at 9.20), 20 for MotoGP from 9.40. The Moto3 race (27 laps) starts at 11, the Moto2 race (28) at 12.20, the green light for the MotoGP (30) at 14.
Three complicated “braking”, and many left curves
An overall short circuit (3,671 meters), which turns mainly to the left (9 corners out of 13), with 8 corners, 3 of which are demanding: according to the Brembo technicians, who assist all the MotoGP riders, Sachsenring is a track with “medium” difficulty (index 3 on a scale from 1 to 6) from the point of view of braking, which occupy 31% of the total travel time. As often happens, the first braking is one of the most complicated: you get to the end of the straight at 294km / h and descend to 73km / h in just 265 meters and 5.9 seconds. The last two braking sections before the finish are also difficult: at turn 12 you go from 288 to 117 km / h in 224 meters and 4.4 seconds, at turn 13 from 218 to 99 km / h in 142 meters and 3.5 seconds.
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