Round Nine – Sachsenring – Qualifying
After the first qualifying runs in the session it was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on provisional pole as the Spaniard was the first to break Marquez’ previous pole lap record from 2015, before the first charge on the second exit saw Lorenzo threaten that – with Petrucci in close pursuit. Over the line the two took over at the top, with Petrucci just ahead, as Marquez began his third run – later crediting the two-stop strategy as a key to his ninth pole at the venue.
On that last dash with the clock counting down, Marquez was just off in the first sector, put in a personal best second sector and then a red third one – meaning he was up on the previous best overall. But it was mere hundredths and it went right down to the wire, with a solid final sector seeing Marquez just maintain the advantage and pip Petrucci by the tiniest of margins. That means it’s exactly the top two from last season, except then it was over a tenth and a half – and this year it’s half a tenth covering the front row.
Marc Marquez – P1
“Honestly, I didn’t really feel we would be able to take pole today, but we did and it’s fantastic. The team planned the perfect strategy, which was to try and use three tyres, and I think that’s what gave me pole position. I knew the two Ducatis were very fast on new tyres, but already during my second run, I understood that I would be able to push more on my next and final exit, on the hard tyre option, which was the one I was feeling best with. I did it, but I also made a few mistakes, one in turn three where I nearly crashed! Anyway, I kept pushing and pushing on my final lap, and finally 25 thousandths of a second gave me the pole. I’m sorry for Danilo [Petrucci], but we’re both on the front row and that’s what ultimately counts.
“Regarding tomorrow, I think we’ll have two races, I mean the first 15 laps and the second 15 laps. In the first half, everyone will be fast but in the second half the tyres will drop, and that moment will be the key. We’ve worked a lot to try and keep our pace on used tyres in the high ’21s, but it’s tough and will also be tough tomorrow.”
Danilo Petrucci – P2
“The team has done a great job. I was very quick in both free practice and qualifying. I followed Jorge in the second run and this gave me an advantage. I was convinced I could do Pole Position but Marc Marquez managed to do better. I’m very happy anyway”.
Jorge Lorenzo – P3
“I’m really pleased with my lap time and a front row position and I would have signed on the dotted line for a qualifying result like this if I had known before arriving here at the Sachsenring. I even think I could have improved on my time and fought for the pole with Marquez if I hadn’t made a small mistake in the final corner, losing a little bit of precious time. I’m working well with my team but the race will be a long and very difficult one, so it’ll be important to make the right choice of tyre, get a good start and save some energy for the final stages. In any case we are set up well and I think that tomorrow we can fight for the podium and maybe even for the win.”
Viñales wasn’t able to improve and stayed fourth, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) moved up to fifth after coming from Q1 and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) found some more pace on Saturday to complete the superstar-studded second row – with every one of them keen to get the launch of their lives and move forward at lights out. With Lorenzo ahead of them on the front row, that could be a task. The front row share 11 titles between them – but so do the second.
Maverick Vinales – P4
“Qualifying was positive. Honestly, the first run was really good. On the second run I tried to push, but the front tyre was already a bit used, so that made it more difficult. I think it was possible today to make the pole, but we are mostly focused on tomorrow anyway. We have some things we want to improve tonight and let’s see. We’re going to work on the electronics and also my riding style, so I think we can improve.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P5
“All in all today went well, even though this morning we just missed out on getting into the top 10 by a few thousandths of a second. We tried various set-ups but the grip drops off so much that it’s difficult to have precise feedback. In any case in the FP4 session we lapped in line with the other riders who used new tyres, demonstrating that we had a good pace. Then we stayed calm during Q1, where we ended up with the quickest time, and we went through Q2 without any problems in fifth, which earned us an important row 2 start. For the race we are fast for sure but the unknown factor for everyone will be tyre management and it’ll be the wear and the drop in the rear tyre that will make the real difference.”
Valentino Rossi – P6
“Today was a lot better for us. We improved the balance of the bike and the acceleration, using the electronics. Our pace isn’t fantastic, but it’s also not so bad. It’s true that, like many times this year, we’re all very close, so it’s important to start from the second row and try to have a good start and a good first few laps. After that we’ll see. I think that the rear tyre choice will be crucial, because it’s still open and we still haven’t understood which is the best one. We have to see, check the data, work, and also continue to work tomorrow.”
On the third row, former podium finisher at the venue Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) took P7, ahead of practice pacesetter Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and the on-form Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team), with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) rounding out the top ten. Pedrosa has an impeccable record at the track – it’s the venue at which he’s had most success, along with Valencia – and could be one to watch when the lights go out.
Cal Crutchlow – P7
“The team did a good job, I feel better with the bike than I did yesterday. Starting on the third row at the Sachsenring is never good, but I made a couple of mistakes which affected my performance. I’m a little disappointed because things are so close, Marc did an incredible lap but was only fourth tenths ahead, which is only one tenth per sector, and I lost two in one. But we have to take the positives, we’ve made progress today and I think we can battle tomorrow. The problem is we need to get up to the lead group straightaway because if something happens or breaks up it’s so difficult to come across here. But I look forward to trying to do a good job tomorrow.”
Andrea Iannone – P8
“I think it’s a positive weekend for us so far, especially as we’ve improved on the tyre life and consistency, and this is the most important thing for us – yesterday we struggled in this area. I think we need to work a little bit more in this way and we’ll try something tomorrow morning. In FP4 I rode well and had good pace, but it’s important to remain consistent for the whole race, the second part of the race will be important. I expected more in qualifying but with the hot temperatures I struggled more and we had some spinning. Tomorrow I’ll try my best and try to get to the top.”
Dani Pedrosa – P10
“Today we made a good improvement from yesterday, but we’re still struggling to find the correct setting in some areas, particularly to fully exploit the new tyres in qualifying. So unfortunately, our grid position isn’t very good, also because lap times were very tight. Overall, we did improve our race pace, so tomorrow it will be important to try and start well and then manage the tyres well over race distance.”
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starts P11 and Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) starts P12, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) hot on their heels in thirteenth.
Alex Rins – P11
“We missed out on doing one fast lap, but I think you can see on the time sheets that we are competitive with used tyres. It will be an interesting race tomorrow and we will try to give our best from the start and try to recover positions. After that we need to see how the tyres are, because here they drop off quite quickly and after 12 or 13 laps the race will change a lot. Here everybody is so close on times, so qualifying has been difficult. But our race pace is good and consistent.”
Johann Zarco – P14
“Today has been a tricky day. I don’t really understand what is going wrong. It’s very difficult to go fast and improve myself during the weekend. So, tomorrow in the race I will fight and see where I can finish, but it’s a truly complicate moment that I hope we can overcome soon.”
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) complete the top fifteen on the grid after Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), who just missed out on a place in Q2, received a six-place grid penalty for the race following ‘irresponsible riding’ in FP3; now starting P19.
Jack Miller – P15
“We tried to work on the set-up between FP3 and FP4 to try and make the tyres work better. In Q1 I tried to push hard but I couldn’t make the perfect lap that would have served for qualifying to Q2. Tomorrow I have to make a good start”.
MotoGP Qualifying Results – Sachsenring 2018
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’20.270
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 0.025
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati 0.057
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.171
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.174
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.262
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 0.405
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.412
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Angel Nieto Team Ducati 0.430
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.561
- RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.577
- NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 0.668
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1’20.972 Q1
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.308
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 0.432
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.491
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.536
- SYAHRIN Hafizh 55 MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.709
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 0.795
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 0.998
- BRADL Stefan 6 GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1.051
- LUTHI Tom 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.261
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati 1.408
- SIMEON Xavier 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1.958
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) grabbed his second pole of the season at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland to finish 0.181 seconds ahead of fellow Italian Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), with his teammate, Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), rounding out the front row to make it an all-Italian front three for the first time ever in Moto2.
The intermediate class took to the Sachsenring in beautiful conditions and it was the eventual pole sitter who came out the blocks with all cylinders firing, climbing to the top of the timesheets to set his benchmark time of 1:23.787 on his fourth flying lap – a time that would go unbeaten. The two VR46 riders went out in tandem with Bagnaia leading Marini around the 3.6km circuit, with the latter going 0.002 quicker than his teammate to claim his second consecutive front row start. Bagnaia had to settle for third, but will be confident of challenging for the win in Sunday’s race to try and extend his Championship lead over Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – the Portuguese rider starts 15th.
Fourth and the leading KTM was Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) as he launches from the front of the second row, with 0.001 splitting the British rider from Bagnaia. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) recovered from a crash in FP3 to qualify fifth on the grid, with FP2’s quickest rider Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) rounding out Row 2 at the team’s home Grand Prix.
After a heavy fall at Turn 8 in FP3, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was able to earn a seventh place start in qualifying, with teammate Joan Mir just 0.013 behind him in eighth. At his home Grand Prix, Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) will launch from ninth in a bid to stand on the rostrum for the first time, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in 10th – less than four tenths from pole position.
Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) was an early faller in the session at Turn 3, the Frenchman will have work to do from P18 if he’s to claim his third consecutive podium. Meanwhile, Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) also crashed at Turn 3 late on – both riders were ok.
Remy Gardner topped the practice momentarily, but the pace of the entire Moto2 World Championship field raised enormously during Qualifying, Remy lowered his time significantly as well, but eventually missed out on the top by 0.811 seconds, but that 8-tenths gap pushes him down to P20 on the grid.
Remy Gardner – P20
“Like everyone we’ve improved from FP3, but it was not enough. I tried, it was really difficult, but I think our race pace is not too bad. It’s a pity we have to start in 20th, so we need a bit of luck to get through the first couple of laps safely and make a good race after this strong weekend. I was missing a bit of everything. The whole pace was faster, so I can’t really point on something special.”
Moto2 Qualifying Results – Sachsenring 2018
- Mattia Pasini (ITA) KALEX 1’23.787
- Luca Marini (ITA) KALEX +0.181
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX +0.183
Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) secured his sixth pole of 2018 thanks to his 1:28.434 at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, beating Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai), claimed a podium finish at the Sachsenring last season, by 0.060 seconds as the Spaniard earned his first front row start in the lightweight class, with Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) rounding out the front row in third.
After a nasty crash at Turn 3 in FP3, Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) bounced back to secure his best ever Grand Prix qualifying result in fourth – a fantastic end to the session for the rookie. Behind the Spaniard was compatriot Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who qualifies fifth on the grid despite a highside at on the exit of Turn 1 with just over 15 minutes to go. Rounding out the second row of the grid in sixth was Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) who qualifies well again at the Sachsenring after his P5 last season – just 0.005 back from Canet.
Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) recovered from an early crash at Turn 3 in qualifying to spearhead the third row of the grid in seventh – 0.349 back from Championship rival Martin, with John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) in eighth. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) had a solid session in ninth, qualifying as the leading Japanese rider, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) rounding out a top ten on Saturday that was covered by just 0.457 seconds.
On his first outing at the Sachsenring, Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) qualified well in P11 after briefly sitting inside the top three, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) also dropping from a front row start to outside the top ten in P12. German Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) will launch from P13 at his home Grand Prix after slipping down the order in the latter stages, with stand-in rider Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) impressing in 14th, just over half a second back from pole.
Moto3 Qualifying Results – Sachsenring 2018
- Jorge Martin (SPA) HONDA 1’26.434
- Marcos Ramirez (SPA) KTM +0.060
- Enea Bastianini (ITA) HONDA +0.065