Rookie Marc Marquez held off a late charge from Cal Crutchlow to win the German MotoGP at the Sachsenring - and retake the world championship lead.

On a day when title leaders Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo were both absent due to collarbone injuries, pole sitter Marquez muscled forwards from fourth on lap one, taking the lead from home hero Stefan Bradl along the main straight on lap 6 of 30.

Marquez then edged clear, while Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Crutchlow worked their way around the German.

By the halfway stage Marquez was leading Rossi by two seconds, but the Italian had his hands full with Tech 3 star Crutchlow, who eventually overtook the seven time champion at the final turn.

Crutchlow, who began the race from a sore second on the grid after two heavy falls in practice, then faced a 2.8s gap to Repsol Honda star Marquez. The Englishman initially chewed into that advantage, but Marquez responded and held his lead at the two-second mark - until another big push from Crutchlow in the closing stages.

The Englishman soon closed to within 1.6s of the reigning Moto2 champion and a first ever MotoGP win for himself and the Tech 3 team. But Marquez soaked up the pressure and claimed his second victory of the season - after Texas - by 1.559s.

All of the manufacturer (factory/satellite) riders chose the same hard front/soft rear tyre combination.

The result propels Marquez into the championship lead by two points from team-mate Pedrosa, with Yamaha's Lorenzo eleven points from the top after 8 of 18 rounds.

Crutchlow's fourth podium of the season consolidates his fourth place in the standings, which the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider now holds by an increased six points over Rossi, winner of the previous Assen round.

Rossi faded back to a distant 9.6s from victory.

After his early race heroics Bradl, who had outbraked Rossi for the lead on the opening lap, spent much of the race in fourth place, his LCR Honda crossing the line 4.3s from Rossi.

Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista put a run of poor events behind him with fifth place, while Crutchlow's rookie team-mate Bradley Smith matched his best result with a solid sixth.

Like Bradl, top CRT rider Alex Espargaro also lit up the early laps. Starting fifth on the grid, the Aspar Aprilia star put his privateer ART machine into an early third place and at one point was looking to overtake Rossi ahead of him.

But the Spaniard couldn't continue the pace and dropped back to eighth - a fraction behind the factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso and comfortably ahead of the Italian's team-mate Nicky Hayden - as Espargaro continued his perfect 2013 record in the privateer class.

Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone missed the race due to a dislocated shoulder on Saturday, while team-mate Ben Spies continues to be side-lined and was again replaced by test rider Michele Pirro.

Pirro claimed tenth place in Germany and will now hand the 'lab' Desmosedici to Moto2 rider Alex de Angelis for next weekend's Laguna Seca round.

The US MotoGP is the last event before the summer break. Pedrosa is expected to return but Lorenzo, who re-damaged his broken collarbone on Friday, forcing a second round of surgery, has said he will skip the event but no official announcement has yet been made.

All of the top five riders in the standings - Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Crutchlow and Rossi - have now suffered one non-score this year. Marquez previously led the standings after rounds two and three.

German MotoGP:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Cal Crutchlow
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Stefan Bradl
5. Alvaro Bautista
6. Bradley Smith
7. Andrea Dovizioso
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Michele Pirro
11. Hector Barbera
12. Randy De Puniet
13. Colin Edwards
14. Danilo Petrucci
15. Claudio Corti
16. Michael Laverty
17. Hiroshi Aoyama
18. Karel Abraham
19. Lukas Pesek
Bryan Staring
Yonny Hernandez

Be there! CLICK HERE to see ticket prices for the remaining rounds of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship from the Official MotoGP Ticket Store.

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