Wet weather affects opening day of practice at Sachsenring
2017 MotoGP content on MCNews.com.au brought to you by Honda Genuine Oils
2017 MotoGP content on MCNews.com.au brought to you by Honda Genuine Oils
MotoGP 2017 – Round Nine – Sachsenring

Andrea Dovizioso scored the fastest time in FP1 before the showers

As well as leading the MotoGP World Championship for the first time, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) topped Day 1 at the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland to stake an early claim on the top spot this weekend after going quickest in FP1 before rain fell in the afternoon. The Ducati rider was a frontrunner throughout the first session before moving down the order until a final push saw the rider from Forli back on top.

The margin over the second fastest man on track – Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – was only 0.038 as the two currently at the top of the standings dueled it out, setting the scene for a competitive push for Q2 on Saturday morning.

Third fastest was one of the Sachsenring’s most successful riders, Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who was another tenth back as he shot back up the timesheets after a more difficult Dutch GP.

Fourth fastest overall in the dry was Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), with the Granollers native also showing pace to place in the top five in the wet.

Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was fifth quickest on combined times for a solid Day 1, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completing the top six.

Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was P7 on Day 1 but crashed FP2 in the wet – rider ok – with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) on solid top ten form in ninth, just ahead of Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) despite a crash in FP1 for the Brit.

Jack Miller – P9

“This afternoon was not the easiest session and I was out when the track was at its wettest. Each time a dry line started to appear I didn’t want to take any big risks. At the time I came in when the track was drying and improving, I was one of the fastest out there, so I know my potential in wet conditions. I had a good feeling in the wet and it wasn’t worth concentrating too much on playing with the set-up for the bike when the track is half wet and half dry. I’m happy in full wet conditions but if I could improve in one area it would be to have a little bit better turning. We made some steps forward in that area but I still feel like we can make even more progress. All we can do now is wait and see what the weather will do tomorrow. With rain predicted for FP3, it was very important to get into the top 10 this morning because this morning’s session could decide Q1. I wanted to be in that top 10 and managed that, so we accomplished one of today’s big goals. There are some big names that didn’t make it into the top 10, so it could be quite difficult to come out of Q1 if it’s wet in the morning.”

The fastest fifteen overall were completed by home hero Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).

After the rain came down just ahead of FP2, no times were improved and it was Hector Barbera who was quickest in the wet. Reigning Champion Marquez, winner for the last seven years he’s competed at the track, shone to go second quickest in the rain, ahead of another solid performance from teammate Dani Pedrosa – the only man to have placed in the top three in both the wet and dry.

It was an interrupted first session for the ‘Doctor’ Valentino Rossi, as the Italian suffered an issue on track and ended the day in P16 as the rain prevented anyone improving laptimes.

Tom Lüthi and Schrötter lead the charge at the Sachsenring

After torrential rain in MotoGP FP2, the second session of the day for the intermediate class saw completely dry conditions by the end of practice, with Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) bettering his FP1 time to go fastest overall from home hero Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP). Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Miguel Oliveira was third quickest with his time set in the morning in FP1, which was dry throughout.

Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the fourth quickest rider on Friday, just ahead of another impressive performance from fastest rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46). Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) followed up his podium form at Assen to go sixth quickest on Day 1 of the German GP.

Schrötter’s teammate Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) was another who shone on home turf on Day 1 to complete a double top ten on Friday for the team, beating Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) to seventh.

Previous Sachsenring winner Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) was ninth fastest on Friday, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) tenth after a crash in the morning for the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion.

Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) took P11, ahead of an impressive performance for Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) in twelfth.

Remy Gardner – P12

“We had a positive opening day in Germany. After a good start this morning, it rained a lot in the afternoon so the track wasn’t dry when the FP2 session commenced. I waited in the pit box but eventually I got going and I had about 30 minutes on the track in the end, so I decided to stay out for the entire time and work on myself. It paid off well but we still need to make a few small adjustments on the bike. However, the start has been positive so I am happy and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Joan Mir back in command, Martin declared unfit after crash

Points leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) bounced back from a more difficult Dutch GP in style on Day 1 at the Sachsenring, topping the timesheets by more than half a second from closest challenger and key title rival Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers). The weather stayed dry for Moto3, under grey skies.

The headline of the day was the Red Flag interruption in FP2 after a crash for title challenger and third fastest on Friday Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3). The Spaniard suffered a highside in the afternoon and was then taken to the Medical Centre at the circuit. He has been declared unfit for the rest of the event with a fractured right ankle and a second break in the same leg.

P4 overall was another strong showing from home hero Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing), after the German showed great pace in FP1 and FP2. Livio Loi (Leopard Racing) was fifth fastest on Day 1 as the Belgian rider got back into the top echelons of the timesheets, ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Bo Bendsneyder, who set his fastest lap in FP1.

Sky Racing Team VR46’s Nicolo Bulega followed up a promising morning with almost the exact same laptime in the afternoon for P7 on combined timesheets, with Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) showing more good form to go eighth and slot in behind the Italian on Day 1. Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was P9 in a solid opening day at the Sachsenring, just ahead of teammate Aron Canet, who completed the top ten.

Jakub Kornfeil (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) was P11, with Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) was twelfth overall on Day 1 and fastest rookie as he got the German GP off to a flier. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) took thirteenth. Tony Arbolino (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was another flying the rookie flag in fourteenth, and Malaysian Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) completed the fastest fifteen on Friday.