Germany has not had a Grand Prix winner in the motorcycle world championship for four years. Probably not at the home race at the Sachsenring either. But the fans can’t be stopped.
Hohenstein-Ernstthal – Many German flags in the stands are guaranteed thanks to the approximately 200,000 spectators. It is almost impossible for a local hero to win the German Grand Prix this weekend.
With Stefan Bradl as a replacement for the injured eight-time motorcycle world champion Marc Marquez in the premier class and Moto2 pilot Marcel Schrötter, only two candidates are still represented in the three series. Is the MotoGP a discontinued model in this country?
Encourage young drivers
“There are too few pilots who are permanently there,” said Oliver Runschke, spokesman for the organizer ADAC, the German Press Agency. The traffic club is strongly committed to the promotion of young drivers. “We have an obligation to take care of the youngsters and we do this, for example, as a partner of the Northern Talent Cup. Of course, we think hard about how we can optimize talent work.”
For ex-racing driver Alexander Hofmann, Germany has worse conditions compared to nations like Spain or Italy, which provide by far the most drivers. “It also has to do with how much a sport is loved. In Germany, children don’t get a motorcycle for their fourth birthday. In addition, the countries in southern Europe have around 300 days of sunshine. You’re more often at the racetrack,” said today’s expert from ServusTV.
Another problem for motorcyclists and fans: Despite falling vehicle production figures, Germany is still a car nation.
German world class is missing
A German driver in the world class is also missing, says Runschke. Because since 2018, when Philipp Öttl won the Moto3 entry-level class, Germany has been waiting. “The lack of young people is not a generational problem,” said Runschke. “It would help us to have a star again, like we had in Formula 1 during the successful days of Sebastian Vettel. That would get more youngsters excited about the sport.”
The lack of a winning driver does not detract from the enthusiasm in the stands. After the corona-related cancellation in 2020 and the ghost race in 2021, the spectators are returning to the Sachsenring without reservations. “This race thrives on tradition and the fans,” said Hofmann. “The ambiance pulls it out.”
Fans stay loyal
And the MotoGP marketing company Dorna also appreciates that. The Sachsenring will be part of the racing calendar until at least 2026. “We have been partners since day one and we keep exchanging ideas. Of course we want to continue to optimize the cooperation,” said Runschke, who also clarified that the two years of absence did not cause any financial problems. “We have loyal and long-term partners and were even able to win sponsors.”
The sales figures and the broad support in the region speak for themselves. Because there are only a few remaining tickets, although long-standing figureheads such as eleven-time Sachsenring record winner Marc Marquez or the idol of many fans, MotoGP pensioner Valentino Rossi, will not be there. Runschke is certain: “In Germany, the MotoGP is not a discontinued model.” dpa