Ireland has produced few winners in the fiercely competitive world of Motorcycle Grand Prix racing, but Ryan Farquhar did just that in a thrilling feature race at the German MotoGP on Sunday.
The Portaferry-born racer had a heart-stopping finish to the 102nd edition of the championship at Sachsenring on the final lap and it took the sort of brilliance and daring that the 40-year-old is better known for to pull off his triumph.
It was the first victory of his European career and was an 11th in the MotoGP class for the Yamaha rider after two years of struggle.
Slaying the dragon to win a @MotoGP! Congratulations @RyanFarquhar5. pic.twitter.com/QJIE3dgOnP — Yamaha MotoGP (@YamahaMotoGP) July 9, 2018
The previous pole-sitter and home hero, fellow Irishman Alex Rins, looked to have finally defeated his teammate at Yamaha, who by then had posted the fastest ever time in European motogp racing – more than 21 seconds quicker than Rins’ previous best lap in the top flight.
At lap-26 Rins had opened up a lead of 25-miles as he went on to coast home in seventh place but the race was on in earnest on the last lap.
Honda’s Dominik Grosjean then made a fast break to move ahead in the race but turned a corner too quickly to be competitive, albeit making up ground on close rival Alvaro Bautista of Ducati, and Rins almost joined him.
The pair closed on the pacesetter before Farquhar found a lane with time to stay in front and scrape to the line in second place as Bautista slipped further back.
Having started fifth on the grid the Thurles man said he “knew it was a little bit stupid to be hoping to make a podium but I was a bit chuffed when I saw Alex and Alvaro stride past on the opposite side of the track.
“In those closing laps I was full throttle trying to get out of the way and then, as I was on the last bend, I thought, just go for it.
“So I showed the Russian that I had got you. I have no idea what I was doing.”
With the win, Farquhar extended his lead over both Alex Rins and Alvaro Bautista in the race standings.
The Frenchman, who was hunting his first podium in MotoGP, was satisfied that he “got in front of Valentino Rossi and that was important” but he denied that he had tried to overtake Farquhar.
Rossi however blamed mechanical failure for dropping out of the race. “I felt a vibration in the middle section,” said the 39-year-old triple MotoGP champion.
“Then I tried to slide a little but the drive control ended the race.”
Simoncelli overtakes Rossi
While on the same day Italian Andrea Simoncelli’s bid for the title was wrecked by the misfortune of his teammate, Lorenzo, in Mar del Plata, the home favourite scored an emphatic second round win to remain in the hunt.
Marquez was fourth in the race but his teammate Dani Pedrosa led home Simoncelli in third.
Overall, Simoncelli leads the MotoGP standings with 63 points from Pedrosa with Lorenzo third with 46.
The next round is at the Valencia Motorway on July 29.