Excellent Aleix Espargaro in charge as Honda pair suffer big crashes
Aleix Espargaro set the best lap in the MotoGP™ FP2 run at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, outpacing Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo at the head of the timesheet.
Having also gone quickest in FP1, Espargaro lapped in 1’22.041 on the NGM Forward Racing ‘Open’ Forward-Yamaha on a softer option rear at the end of the FP2 session. The riders kept their concentration despite some light rainfall 20 minutes from the end of the afternoon run.
World Champion Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ended the session 0.117s behind compatriot Espargaro, having had a big crash at turn 3 earlier in the day in FP1.
Another Spaniard, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Lorenzo kept out of trouble at a track where he had a big crash last year in practice and missed the 2013 race. Lorenzo was third fastest, trailing Espargaro by 0.327s.
Home rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and his fellow Honda equipped rival Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) were fourth and fifth.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was sixth fastest overall, lapping just over 0.4s slower than pace setter Espargaro – the Italian’s best time came in FP1.
The top ten was completed by Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) – who walked away from a high speed FP2 crash at turn 12.
The top 16 riders were separated by less than a second at the short, tight and twisting German track.
Turn 12 also saw another FP2 crash, for Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport), who was unhurt and ended the day 14th. His teammate Broc Parkes was down in 23rd and crashed in FP1.
Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) crashed twice in FP1 and ended the day 11th best overall.
Moto2™: Cool Kallio ahead in final Friday session
As the first day of action at eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland drew to a close Kallio outpaced his closest rival and teammate Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) by just 0.074s.
Behind the leading pair, Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) was third best overall, with his best time coming in FP1 – that lap just under a tenth slower than Rabat’s best.
Behind the Finn, the Spaniard and the Italian in the top three, fourth best was Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert), with German representative Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) going round fifth quickest on the first day of his home GP.
The combined timesheet also featured Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2), Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team), Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2) and Randy Krummenacher (IodaRacing Project).
In FP2 Lorenzo Baldassarri (Gresini Moto2) and Axel Pons (AGR Team) walked away from spills, with Cortese, Simon and Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) escaping injury in FP1 crashes.
Moto3™: Determined Miller ahead of rivals at Sachsenring
Having also led in the morning session Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) put in a 1’27.302 in sunny conditions at the 3.67km Sachsenring track on Friday afternoon. Miller aims to bounce back from his Assen DNF this weekend in Germany and extend his lead at the top of the World Championship standings before the summer break.
Behind him on the FP2 timesheet were Frenchman Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Englishman Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) also in the top three, trailing the Australian by 0.255s and 0.362s respectively.
The top five also featured Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN).
Completing the FP2 top ten were Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team), Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46). Binder was ninth best in FP2 but sixth overall courtesy of his FP1 time, as the South African failed to improve in the afternoon and survived a big wobble as he went off track at one stage.
Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) was down in 21st place, feeling unwell on the first day in Germany.
A late incident saw substitute rider Gabriel Rodrigo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) and Kornfeil go down, but both walked away unhurt. There were also crashes without major consequence in FP1 for Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had a solid start to the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland race weekend despite slightly threatening weather conditions.
Both riders were quick to find their rhythm at the challenging German circuit during the morning free practice session. Topping the standings multiple times throughout the session, Jorge Lorenzo finished as leading factory bike in second place, only 0.253 from first. Teammate Valentino Rossi was not far behind in third place, 0.296 seconds from the front.
Lorenzo continued his form during FP2. The afternoon session was shortly interrupted by spots of rain, but the rack was quick to dry with action resuming. The Spaniard was soon back out on the track and managed to keep his times consistent within the 1’22’s, to eventually finish third in the combined times, 0.327 from the front.
Rossi used the second session to find a set-up that suits the harder front tyres. He was not able to improve on his time from the morning session and ended the first day of practice in sixth position overall, 0.425 from first.
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd / 1’22.368 / 23 laps – “It went quite well today. We were always within the top three. Today the bike is working well. It’s more stable than it was in Montmeló and in Assen, so in pace I’m quite good and also the braking is good. We just need to improve some small details to fight for first row tomorrow. Also, physically I am better than ever, so I feel strong.”
Valentino Rossi – 6th/ 1’22.466 / 21 laps – “It’s a shame that I couldn’t improve on my time from this morning, because this morning was a good practice for me. I was in the third position and I felt very good with the bike, but this afternoon with the higher temperature we had to use the harder tyre on the front and we don’t have the right setting to use it. The bike was more difficult to turn and had understeer. I suffered a lot and I wasn’t fast enough. I’m a little bit worried, especially because for tomorrow morning we have to improve and understand the problem. Tomorrow will be an important day, especially in the afternoon. We have to try to stay in the top position. We have to work with the team and improve the setting for the harder tyres. Also, this weekend I have the new exhaust with two pipes. I like it, it’s not a big difference but from the bottom it’s more smooth so we can work on the pipe and try to improve.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s impressive to see Jorge’s strength and focus back to its inspiring normal state. After a difficult weekend in Assen he is here totally focused and fast. He rode two impressive sessions today, very fast and consistent and he looks very promising for the weekend. Vale was also impressive this morning, they then made a very small change to the setting for the afternoon session and it was clear to see that with the harder front tyre the bike behaves very differently. We were not able to find a solution in time to improve the lap time today but will of course work on this tonight and also in general to improve Jorge’s set up and be ready for FP3 tomorrow morning.”
Pol Espargaro kick started the Sachsenring race weekend in an encouraging manner by collecting a solid 8th place in the combined standings today. The young Spanish rider delivered a strong performance in the morning practice session to finish in 4th place before continuing his positive momentum into the afternoon, where the session remained overly dry despite a few drops falling just beyond the midpoint of the 2nd practice. Espargaro guided his Yamaha YZR-M1 around the tight, meandering 3671 metre Sachsenring circuit to complete the FP2 session with a best time of 1.22,569, which was only just two tenths from the first row as he also clocked fastest speed of the Yamaha YZR-M1’s with 290.0 kmh. His performance today leaves the premier class rookie poised to achieve a promising qualifying performance tomorrow for round 9 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in Germany.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith pulled off a determined display in the afternoon practice after enduring a challenging opening session which saw him fall twice without sustaining any major injury, to finish in 12th. The 23 year old remained resolute and bravely remounted to set a best time of 1.22,719, seizing 11th place in the combined standings at the end of the day and just over three tenths of a second from 3rd position. Smith remains confident for tomorrow and is convinced of bouncing back strongly to qualify within the two front rows after what was an intensely competitive opening day in Germany with the top 13 riders all within seven tenths of a second.
Pol Espargaro – 8th / 1’22.560 / 41 laps – “All in all, I am pretty happy with today’s result. The Sachsenring track is a very special one as it’s really narrow so it takes quite a bit of time to learn. My feeling wasn’t too bad from the word go this morning and we were even able to continue improving during the day. In the morning session we lost time in the first two sectors however, it seems we fixed this problem in the afternoon session but then lost time in the opposite ones. Also during my best lap I made a few small mistakes and could have been faster still, yet my pace on used tyres was nearly identical to my quickest lap time. Now we will analyse the data this afternoon and find a setup solution which combines the positives of all of the modifications that we tried today. My feeling on the bike during the second day usually improves a lot so I am already feeling confident even if the qualifying will be a really tight one and I intend to battle for a top position that counts.”
Bradley Smith – 11th /1’22.719 / 30 laps – “Obviously, I am lucky to be walking away more or less unscathed from one very big crash, as well as another fall this morning. The only trouble I had was that I re-injured my finger a bit which I originally hurt at Mugello last year, however nothing major overall. Today was a bit tricky for us, we are certainly riding faster than we did last year however I don’t feel completely comfortable on the bike due to the balance not being perfect for the moment. In addition, my confidence at maximum lean angle can still improved. Considering the difficulties which we had to face today, the gap to the front is not enormous and this is really promising because this track is a challenging one due to all of the left hand corners, so it always takes a while to get comfortable. I am convinced that we can progress significantly and take home a strong qualifying position tomorrow.”
It was a great start for the NGM Forward Racing Team in Germany with Aleix Espargaro setting the fastest time in both free practice sessions.
It was a very productive day for the Spanish rider who tested for the first time in a race weekend the Forward chassis. The comparison test between the two bikes equipped one with the Yamaha chassis and one with the Forward chassis was very positive and tomorrow Aleix will continue to work in this direction.
Teammate Colin Edwards worked on the set up of the bike in order to find the best compromise for the German racetrack, characterized by tight corners and a short straight (700 mt). Tomorrow Colin will continue to work to improve his feeling with the front, which remains the main issue that prevents him to ride as he would like.
Aleix Espargaro – “We continue our positive momentum. With Barcelona and Assen, this is the third race that we are constantly improving and today I’m satisfied because in the FP2 we tested the Forward chassis and it worked really well. We set the third fastest time with a tyre that had 22 laps on and the feeling was very positive. Sachsenring is a very special track for its layout and we will need to test it also on other circuits, but the feeling was really good. Tomorrow we will continue to work in this direction and if everything works well I want to use it also for the qualifying. I have also enjoyed riding here at Sachsenring. I’m confident because we have a good race pace and tomorrow we can make another step forward.”
Colin Edwards – “I cannot be happy with my final position, but the feeling with the bike is ok. The issue is that I have no front feeling. I need to figure out what the young generation does in terms of riding style to use all the potential of the bike.”
Round 9 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship got underway today at the Sachsenring circuit in the former East Germany, with the first two sessions of free practice action. On the German track, one of the shortest and slowest on the calendar, Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow set ninth and thirteenth quickest times respectively.
Dovizioso worked well with his team crew today and the Italian already has quite a clear idea regarding the choice of race tyre for this track, even though the weather has to be factored into consideration, seeing as there is a slight chance of rain on Sunday.
Team-mate Crutchlow, who was just two-tenths of a second away from Andrea’s time, was a bit more cautious in his approach. The rider from Coventry has not yet been able to find an optimal set-up to tackle the German weekend, and in addition is also suffering with a back problem, which should however not affect his performance in the race.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 9th (1’22.576) – “We did a good session, working both with the hard and the soft tyre. For us it’s quite difficult to use the hard tyre because we struggle to get the bike to turn, and we have to spend a lot of time in lean angle where we don’t have much grip. The soft tyre on the other hand gives us the possibility to manage the bike better and in fact we were able to constantly set some good times towards the end of the session. In my opinion we are in line with the times that we expected and quite close to the front, and so the session was positive for this reason. For sure we still have to improve because for us lapping in these times is quite tiring.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 13th (1’22.757) – “As was to be expected today, the Ducati bikes seem to be struggling with understeer, but we are trying hard to resolve the problem. Today me and the guys tried a few different settings but they didn’t give the results we hoped for. We’ll check the data tonight and see what we can do for tomorrow. My main concern at the moment is that I probably have a trapped nerve in the bottom of my back. I woke up this morning with a pain, I’m unable to walk very well, but on the bike actually it’s not so bad and is of little hindrance.”
Repsol HRC Report
The Repsol Honda Team have endured a tough start to the German GP in Sachsenring, with both Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa crashing.
Marc’s crash came this morning on his fifth lap in turn two, where the reigning World Champion and current Championship leader made a small mistake and engaged third gear causing a vicious high side where he landed heavily on the side of his head and left him with a painful neck. He was able to go back out on track and record a fastest time of 1’22.767 (lap 11 of 17) finishing 6th for the session. Dani also had a slower start in FP1 and his fastest lap of 1’22.848 (lap 21 of 22) placed him 8th.
This afternoon, after receiving treatment to his neck, Marc was able to improve his time by six tenths with a fastest time of 1’22.158 (lap 6 of 20) putting him second fastest for the day. Teammate Dani also improved from the morning session with a fastest lap of 1’22.589 (lap 3 of 18) placing him 9th, but he had a heavy crash on lap five in turn twelve. He went back out on track but wasn’t able to better his earlier time and finished 10th fastest in the combined times.
Marc Marquez – 2nd – 1’22.158 – “The day went very well, because even though I crashed I was fortunate not to get injured, but the impact was hard. The crash was a little strange, but when we looked at the telemetry later on we understood why it happened. It’s a long left turn in second gear on the throttle the whole time, and I accidentally touched the gear shift lever with the toe of my boot. This engaged another gear and as I was leant so far over – and had the gas open – the rear wheel slid out and I was thrown off. The afternoon session was really good and I felt comfortable on the bike again. l was able to put in a good lap, but most importantly I kept up a strong pace.”
Dani Pedrosa – 10th – 1’22.589 – “We were fortunate to have two dry sessions to test out the track today, it went pretty well and I had a good feeling, but I also suffered a crash. During the two practices I had problems with the brakes, and it was precisely at a braking point that I pushed too hard and crashed. However, I was able to go out again with another bike and continue riding through to the end of the afternoon session.”
Drive M7 Aspar Report
Marc Márquez tried to impose his will on the first two practice sessions of the German GP, but undoubtedly the star of the day was Aleix Espargaró -who set the best times in each of the two practice sessions. In the afternoon everyone thought that Marquez would set the top time, but his compatriot stole the top spot on his final lap. The two were little more than a tenth of a second apart, leaving Lorenzo, Bradl and Bautista two tenths behind. Espargaró’s time today was close to the record held by Pedrosa (1’21.846) but not near to the lap Stoner set at Sachsenring in 2008 (1’21.067). Márquez suffered a heavy crash in the morning, whilst Pedrosa did likewise in the afternoon, The latter has three recent victories (2010, 2011 and 2012) at the Sachsenring circuit. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo missed the race in Germany last year due to injury.
Hiroshi Aoyama complained that the Sachsenring circuit did not present the best conditions for the first prractice session of the German Grand Prix. In contrast, in the second runout the track temperature greatly increased asphalt and the Japanese DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider gained confidence -especially when cornering. Thanks to this, he could ride much better in the afternoon and dropped nearly a second from morning to afternoon -concluding the day in sixteenth position. His teammate, Nicky Hayden, also improved from one session to the other, but not by as much. He still has not found the balance on his bike that would allow him to go fast at all sectors of the German track. He ended Friday in eighteenth.
16th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.22.961 (46 laps): “This morning the track conditions were quite strange. We suffered from a lack of grip. Yet this first day was still positive. The track temperature rose strongly for the second session and I felt more confident on the bike, so I could push harder. Last year my personal best time at the track was 1.23; today, on the first day, I managed to go quicker than that. In the second session we greatly improved the cornering of the bike, and thanks to that our times lowered a lot compared to the opening session. Despite the improvements, the fast corners are still causing problems and we will work on this tomorrow. Overall, my feeling with the bike has been very positive -hopefully tomorrow the weather lends us a hand and we can keep improving.”
18th Nicky Hayden 1.23.204 (43 laps): “This first day hasn’t been spectacular; we expected to be more competitive than at the last round, but that wasn’t the case. This morning we started quite well but at a certain point neither the team nor I were able to continue to progress. We found a couple of improvements, which we worked for us in some places but hindered us in others. We must find a balance with the bike for every sector of this track. The first part of this circuit is very twisty, and at the end it gets very fast and requires heavy braking. You have to find a compromise and a balance for the bike on all sectors to improve your times. We have several ideas in mind for tomorrow, and I am sure that they will help us improve. Basically we aim to improve the maneuverability of the bike on the long, fast corners.”
Go&Fun Honda Gresini
Team GO& FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding kicked off in a firm and encouraging manner today the weekend of the German Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday at the Sachsenring circuit.
Bautista was the fifth fastest rider in both today’s free practice sessions with a final lap time of 1’22”440, less than four tenths of a second off the pace. Tomorrow the Spaniard, who felt immediately good riding his Honda RC213V machine keeping a good rhythm, will be looking for a better rear grip.
His teammate, Scott Redding, led the other three Open Class Honda RCV1000R machines of Aoyama, Abraham and Hayden thanks to the 15th fastest time, 1’22”933. The English rookie was less than 0.9 seconds behind the fastest rider of the day, Aleix Espargaro, and was impressed by his first MotoGP experience at the Sachsenring.
Alvaro Bautista – (5th – 1’22″440) – “We have been lucky with the weather, because it looked like it could rain all the day, but in the end we enjoyed a sunny day. This morning the track condition was not perfect, with a very low grip level, and the situation didn’t improve a lot in the afternoon. Anyway, we worked really well with the bike set-up and I felt comfortable already this morning, improving the feeling also during the second free practice session. However, I feel that we are still missing something with regard to the rear grip, therefore we are working on this area. We look forward to the rest of the weekend, because I’m convinced that we can improve both my feeling and my rhythm. Regardin the tyres, I think that the softer tyre could be a good option for Sunday’s race”.
Scott Redding (15th – 1’22″933) – “Actually riding here is not as bad as I expected. This is not one of my favourite circuits, but with this bike I’m enjoying it a lot! So far I’m quite happy. In the second practice session we had a small problem with the shock absorber, so it was difficult to set good lap times, but we are not worried about it. We focused on learning the track and the electronics, regarding in particular the anti-wheelie control, because here wecan’t use so much power. Now we need to find a little bit more rear traction, and just learn the track to get the right rhythm, and hopefully we can come a little bit closer to the other bikes through the weekend”.
Fausto Gresini – “Bautista got a good fifth place on this first day of practice, obtaining a good feeling aboard his bike: this bodes well for the rest of the weekend, because we started right away with a good base, even though obviously there is still some work to do. Alvaro, however, was fast and consistent, so we look to tomorrow with confidence. Scott was once again the fastest Honda ‘Production Racer’ rider, on a track that is not easy to deal with first time out on a MotoGP bike, so it is definitely confirming its growth trend”.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 – Dry. Ambient 17-20°C; Track 30-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 – Dry. Ambient 23-24°C; Track 40-44°C (Bridgestone measurement)
For the second successive Grand Prix Aleix Espargaro was the quickest rider on the opening day of practice, as the NGM Forward Racing rider set a rapid lap time of 1’22.041 at Sachsenring in Free Practice Two.
Using the combination of the soft compound front and rear slicks, Espargaro set the day’s quickest time on his very last lap to finish 0.117 seconds ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez who was second quickest today. Third quickest on the first day of action in Germany was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo with a best time of 1’22.368. Sachsenring is the shortest circuit in MotoGP™ and this often results in a very competitive field and today was no exception, with the top seventeen riders setting personal best lap times within one second of each other.
The first two practice sessions of the race weekend took place in generally fine conditions, although a short rain shower in FP2 resulted in most of the field momentarily returning to their garages. Track temperatures in the afternoon practice session reached a peak of 44°C, so the light rain didn’t affect grip levels and the riders were able to increase their pace after the short interruption. As temperatures rose in the afternoon, the most popular front option was the hard compound slick as it provides maximum stability in the numerous, long-radius corners at Sachsenring. For the rear tyre, the softer slick options were the most widely used for both the Factory and Open-class riders, but evaluation of the harder rear slick options yielded some positive results. Further evaluation of all rear slick options will take place in tomorrow’s FP4 session, as the Sachsenring is one of the most brutal for rear tyres and an optimal bike setup and tyre choice is a key factor in achieving a good race result.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “Sachsenring is one of those circuits where a good setup that uses the tyres well is very important, so thanks to the fine weather the riders were able to test a few different tyre combinations today. This is the first time we’ve brought our medium compound front slick to Sachsenring, and the feedback we received from the riders that tried it is that it’s working well, although the hard compound front slick is still the preferred option here. For the rear tyre both the softer and harder options have their own distinct advantages at this track, and the riders will spend more time evaluating their options tomorrow to see what is the better choice for them. We often see many riders close together on lap times at this circuit, but to see the top seventeen riders within one second of each other is quite impressive and I hope this level of competitiveness continues over the rest of the weekend.”
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.