SACHSENRING - Runaway world championship leader Marc Marquez targets a ninth win in nine races at the German Grand Prix on Sunday with the flying Spaniard on course to have the title wrapped up in record time.
The Honda rider has a 72-point lead in the championship with teammate Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, both of whom have just signed new deals with their respective teams, locked in second spot. Marquez, 21, already has a successful track record at the Sachsenring having won on his las four visits -- in the 125 class in 2010, in Moto2 in 2011 and 2012 and in his first MotoGP last year. Victory on Sunday will mean he would have won every race across the opening half of the season.
In a stunning season, the defending champion has already become the 13th most successful rider of all-time in terms of wins, having celebrated his 40th victory at Assen two weeks ago. He now targets a 25th podium in the elite class having become the first rider to claim eight straight wins since the top category was introduced at the start of 2002. Only six other riders in history having won eight or more MotoGP races in a single season -- Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Rossi, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi, the 35-year-old nine-time world champion across all classes, heads to Germany having extended his contract with Yamaha until 2016. "It's great because this was my target, I wanted to continue, I am feeling good and I'm motivated to keep giving my best," said the Italian. "I am very happy that I can keep riding my YZR-M1, that has been my love for so many years and will still be my love this year and the following two seasons."
Rossi who first won the 125cc world title in 1997 before moving up to claim global honours in the 250cc category two years later, has since added seven world titles at the highest level. If he finishes on the podium at the weekend, he will become the first rider ever to rack up 4,000 career points. Pedrosa has also signed an extension to his Honda deal which will keep him on board until 2016.
"I'm very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team, and grateful to Honda for the trust they have shown in me for a further two years," said the Spaniard. "It's the best way for me to continue in my racing career, together with the company I was with in my very first race. I am very excited to give my 100% and continue to work together with everyone at Honda Racing Corporation".