Round Nine Sachsenring
It started in the 125 World Championship, it continued in Moto2 and now it’s seven times in a row in MotoGP: Marc Marquez continued his stunning form to make it ten successive Sachsenring pole positions in the HJC Helmets Grand Prix Motorrad Deutschland.
It was a close run affair though as Quartararo was once again a key challenger despite a big tank-slapper in FP3 that partially dislocated the Frechman’s shoulder – to add further discomfort top of his ongoing recovery from arm pump surgery.
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completed the front row and missing out on second by just 0.006.
MotoGP Qualifying Report
The drama started early as Q1 saw Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) lead Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) into Q2 to fight for the top 12, and that had some serious consequences for Championship challenger Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) as he was knocked out by just a few thousandths. He’ll face a fight back on Sunday from P13 on the grid.
Meanwhile, at the front, Marquez was the first man to set a benchmark time in Q2, the number 93 slamming in a 1m20.575s. But there was more to come, with an advantage of two-tenths then becoming half a second as the Repsol Honda rider set a new all-time lap record. A 1m20.215s moved the goalposts 0.553s clear of his nearest challengers as the undisputed King of the Ring laid down the gauntlet for the riders to try and match. And slowly but surely, that half a second gap started to shrink, down to 0.185s as both Quartararo and Marquez headed onto their final flying laps – the 20-year-old was just behind Marquez on circuit.
Both riders set a red first sector, Marquez was superior in the second, Quartararo then went through his favoured third split in the red…but so did Marquez. It all came down to the final sector of the session – would Marquez hold on for a tenth straight pole or would Quartararo steal it from the seven-time Champion’s grasp? Marquez did set a slightly faster lap and a couple of seconds later, Quartararo crossed the line but it wasn’t to be. But two tenths off Marquez in Q2 at the Sachsenring whilst not exactly fighting fit is a warning shot regardless, and you can tell how much the young Frenchman wants it…
Maverick Viñales finished just 0.006 off Quartararo to lineup in P3, his fourth front row start of the season, as Rins spearheads the second row of the grid in P4.
By far the leading Ducati rider in qualifying, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) had a great session to launch from P5, he’ll sit next to the brave Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) – the Briton qualifies sixth for the German GP despite suffering a torn ACL and a small fracture to the top of his tibia ahead of this weekend.
Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli leads the third row ahead of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and the duo will line up with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) alongside them. The Spaniard was involved in an incident with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) after it appeared the Suzuki rider held up the Italian on the entrance to ‘The Waterfall’ and on the exit of Turn 12…
Just behind that drama, Takaaki Nakagami qualified P10, with the Japanese rider beating fellow Q1 graduate Valentino Rossi by 0.033 to turn the tables on ‘The Doctor’ in Q2.
To continue a more turbulent session for Petrucci, not long after his words with Mir the Italian then suffered a huge crash at Turn 9 as the front washed away. He headed to the medical centre for a checkup, and will race from P12…just ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) was 14th as he replaces the injured Jorge Lorenzo, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) close behind in P15.
MotoGP Rider Quotes
Marc Marquez – P1
“I am riding very well and since FP1 I have felt good here. We’ve just been trying different tyres and some different things on the bike to see how it compares. Even in qualifying we tried some different things to keep understanding more. We have everything in place for tomorrow but the Yamaha riders are very fast, Viñales and Quartararo are very fast so we will have to keep an eye on them. The pole was possible today but we will have to see if the win is possible tomorrow!”
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“I’m delighted to be on the front row again, because this morning was tough for us. I made a mistake this morning and had a big moment at 250 kmh, but on track my shoulder was only a little bit painful in qualifying. It’s one of the most important tracks of the year to qualify well at because it’s so narrow and tight, so I’m really pleased with the result. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in because I think we’re in a good position to fight.”
Maverick Viñales – P3
“I‘m really happy because we achieved today‘s objective. It‘s true that we could have done better, but we are improving the bike quite a lot. I didn‘t expect to be that close in qualifying, because the gap was bigger in FP3. We need to keep working like this. I feel great on the bike, especially my rhythm is good, but it will be very important to make another step this evening. We are going to try our best to go for the win. Managing tyre degradation will be crucial tomorrow, so we‘re going to try to make that work for us. I don‘t know which tyre I will use yet, because the weather will be very different from what we had today.”
Alex Rins – P4
“I had a bit of a scary moment on the last corner of the last lap, I was setting a really quick time and I had to make a save with my elbow! But nevertheless, I’ve finished today on the second row and that’s within my target. Tomorrow I’ll try to get a good start, because I feel like I have strong pace.”
Jack Miller – P5
“I was very comfortable with hard rubber. In the last run with the soft tyre maybe we could have done better but the front tyre already had many laps. The second row is still a good result ahead of the race. The choice of tyres for tomorrow will be important but there is great confidence.”
Cal Crutchlow – P6
“Yeah, I’m happy enough. I qualified there in Assen, sixth there and sixth here. I think that’s about our pace this weekend, it’s going to be a really long difficult race and obviously the heat today didn’t help anybody’s tyres, but overall we’re happy enough. I’ve no idea (about tyres for the race), I used the really used rear tyre in FP4 and it was very difficult to manage, but that’s what it’s going to be like in the race. Marc (Marquez) has the pace compared to everybody else, we can see that, but we just don’t know how our rear tyre performed in that session because we used it from the morning. We’ll see, I believe that we have the pace to do a good job tomorrow, potentially fight for the podium or potentially fight for tenth. It’s always a good race here and a real battle.”
Franco Morbidelli – P7
“It was a good day for us. We’re faster in race pace than over one lap, which gives us confidence for Sunday. I didn’t have a perfect feeling in qualifying, but I had a great feeling in FP4 so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. It’s difficult to say what kind of a race it will be as practice this morning was a bit sketchy because of the high winds, but despite that we felt strong. Marquez looks to be a little bit ahead of everyone else, but behind him it’s really open.”
Pol Espargaro – P8
“I was expecting a good weekend. It was a little bit harder than last year because everyone was flying but we also went faster in FP3 and the qualifying. I’m happy with that position on the grid and it’s good to be near the top. The third row is a decent position for us. I think we have a good set-up and ideas for the race tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. My wrist is better here simply because there are so many left corners. I still need a few painkillers but otherwise it is OK.”
Joan Mir – P9
“I’m happy, but I expected a little bit more because my pace in FP4 was really good, so I thought I could go even quicker with a new tyre in qualifying. Anyway, I will start on the third-row tomorrow, and I’m pleased with that. I’m ready to try hard in this final race before the summer break.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P10
“It was a very tough day for me, this morning I felt good and, for the first time since Assen, I put shoes on and, although it was difficult, started to walk. But at the end of the FP3 session I felt that something was wrong, I was in a lot of pain and after that the condition of my left ankle was a disaster. I could not put any weight on it or walk, so it was really tough for me. At one moment in FP4 I thought I might have to retire as I couldn’t change the gear, I wasn’t able to do the movement to downshift. After that I took off all the taping to try and make it a bit more flexible and that helped, although it was very painful. For tomorrow I don’t know, it’s a small track and 30 laps does not help me or my body. I think I will need an injection and painkillers (for the race), but we’ll wait and see what our strategy for the race is.”
Valentino Rossi – P11
“My team did a great job! They were able to recover the bike in just ten minutes between Q1 and Q2, because that was the bike I felt better on. In Q2 I was able to finish at the top, but unfortunately after that I had a small crash, and I lost the feeling a little. It was a shame I couldn’t make the same lap times during Q2 as I did before, so I have to start a bit further down the grid. My pace is not so bad, but on a hot lap I suffered a bit, I didn’t feel fantastic, especially at the last part of the race track. We’ll see tomorrow, also because it looks like the conditions for tomorrow will be different from today.”
Danilo Petrucci – P12
“Unfortunately I crashed in one of the fastest parts of the track. I lost the front as soon as I closed the throttle and in the crash I hurt both my left wrist and right hand. Luckily I don’t have any fractures but I have a big bruise and at the moment I feel quite a bit of pain, especially in the tendons of my right hand. I hope to feel better tomorrow morning. I believe we can still ride a strong race, even though starting from twelfth position makes things more complicated. Still, I want to give it my all and bring home as many points as possible to defend third place in the championship.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P13
“Today we managed to improve the feeling with the bike and the overall speed, but unfortunately not enough to gain access to Q2. It’s been a complicated day, we worked hard as usual but on this track unfortunately we struggle more than in others. To start from fifth row doesn’t mirror our potential but we simply need to pull ourselves up and try to get the best possible start and recover as many positions as we can. Weather conditions could mix things up a bit, in any case we surely won’t give up.”
Stefan Bradl – P14
“We have had another busy and productive day today. We have accomplished a lot today and our pace is good. For tomorrow we will start from the fifth row so we must make sure we are sensible during the race and do not get caught up in anything. I’m looking forward to it as I think we can gain some positions and riding at home is always very special.”
Aleix Esparagaro’ – P15
“The weekend is going much better than Assen. In terms of my physical fitness, I did not expect a change in such a short amount of time. In the simulations with used tyres, I felt good. In qualifying, I expected to be able to do better, but I ran into traffic and wasn’t able to put together a clean lap. Starting from behind here is not idea, given the scarce opportunities for overtaking, but I can count on a good pace and I am able to be incisive in braking. I will definitely need to stay calm in the first lap. Some of our rivals will manage to create a gap, but over 30 laps, management will be fundamental.”
Andrea Iannone – P16
“We are doing better than I expected on this track. Unfortunately, the biggest limitation was qualifying, where we had a significant gap. I can confirm what was already said, in other words, that tyre management will be key in the race tomorrow. It won’t be easy. We still haven’t decided which compound to use because we need to analyse all the data carefully.”
Pecco Bagnaia – P17
“First of all, I want to thank the Clinica Mobile. They did a really great job allowing me to be on track today. I still have a lot of neck pain but I’m going to grit my teeth tomorrow. Today the feeling with the bike has improved so we can fight tomorrow for valuable points for the standings.”
Hafizh Syahrin – P18
“I’m really happy with Qualifying but we had a crash in FP4 with the first bike, which had some good parts. The guys were not able to repair the number one bike in time. So, I had to jump on the second one, which also had some more kilometres on the engine. I just tried my best and was quite surprised to be so fast. I hope I have a good pace for the race tomorrow.”
Johann Zarco – P19
“I expect to fight in the points tomorrow. I’ll be happy with this. I had a good feeling in the morning but in the afternoon a few more problems with the warm weather. We lost some grip and it became a bit more complicated. We’ll work hard for tomorrow and try to find a solution. I still need to change my smooth style. There are some good things going on and we just need to hold onto those through the race.”
Miguel Oliveira – P20
“We did a quite good Saturday: a very good FP3, a fantastic FP4 with a very good race pace but we couldn’t make it in the Qualifying. Three riders improved their lap times directly behind me. I got no warning that I was being followed. It’s a costly mistake that puts us very far back on the grid, having the potential to be much more in front. We will see tomorrow. It’s going to be a hard race. We know it’s not easy to overtake at this track, but we will do our best.”
MotoGP Combined Qualifying Times
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) is on pole position for the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, coming through Q1 and setting a 1:23.585 to beat fellow Q1-protagonist Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) to the top by just 0.079. Home hero Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completes a front row at the Sachsenring covered by 0.082, setting us up for another Sunday to remember in the intermediate class.
Marquez and Marini moved through Q1 along with Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up), who set a new all-time Sachsenring lap record in the session. He came out to set the early pace in Q2, a 1:23.944 the provisional benchmark, but the Spaniard later crashed at Turn 13, the same place he did in FP3 – rider ok. His session was over and while over a tenth under in the first sector, Free Practice pacesetter Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) also crashed out of contention at Turn 3 while sitting P13.
Marquez then went to the top of the times ahead of rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up), with Schrötter taking P2 and Marini then taking second with 30 seconds to go. Ultimately,nNo one could topple Championship contender Marquez, who takes his first pole position since Malaysia 2018.
Di Giannantonio held onto P4 to get his best qualifying in the intermediate class, with the Italian spearheading the second row of the grid ahead of Assen winner Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) and the leading KTM of Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM). 0.283 covers the top two rows. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a good session to finish seventh, the reigning Moto3 World Champion enjoying his best Saturday afternoon Moto2 result, with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) completing the top ten.
Championship leader Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), meanwhile, had a disappointing session and the Swiss rider has work to do from P12 as main rival Marquez launches from pole. Navarro is the man just ahead of him in P11, with Lowes just behind him. And Binder? His crash sees Friday’s fastest facing a fight back from P17.
Marquez is in a prime position to make up for the disappointment of Assen and try and take back that Championship lead. Can Lüthi stop him and move up from P12?
Moto2 Combined Qualifying Times
|4||Fabio DI GIANNANTONI ITA||SPEED UP||Q2||1m23.781|
|10||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA||KALEX||Q2||1m23.928|
|11||Jorge NAVARRO||SPEED UP||Q2||1m23.944|
|21||Dominique AEGERTER||MV AGUSTA||Q1||1m24.334|
|23||Stefano MANZI||MV AGUSTA||Q1||1m24.580|
Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will start from a maiden pole position in the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, taking the honour from compatriot Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) by just 0.057 at the Sachsenring. It’s 18 years since the last time there was a Japanese 1-2 in the lightweight class, with Youichi Ui and Nobby Ueda heading the field in the the 2001 South African GP. Sasaki will also be the first Japanese rider to start from pole position in the lightweight class since Youichi Ui in 2003, with compatriot Hiroki Ono taking the honour in his home Grand Prix in 2016 but later receiving a grid penalty. Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) completes the front row.
Another key headline sees Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) start from P22, his worst qualifying in over two years, after exiting pitlane for his second and final time attack too late, missing the chance at another flying lap. He’ll start from the eighth row and faces a fight back on Sunday if he’s to keep the points lead.
But before all that, a sunny Sachsenring greeted the grid once again on Saturday, and in Q1 it was rooke Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) who topped the session to moved through, joined by Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46), Assen podium finisher Jakub Kornfeil (Redox Prüstel GP) and Le Mans winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). By that stage Canet was already out, as was fellow Championship challenger Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), giving Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) the opportunity to capitalise.
Dalla Porta did, and behind Sasaki, Toba and Ramirez, the Italian starts fourth and heads up Row 2. He’s joined by Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers Team) just 0.032 in arrears, and although the veteran had a laptime cancelled, it remains his best qualifying performance since his return to the class. Jakub Kornfeil, from Q1, completes the second row.
Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) took P7 and has Dennis Foggia for close company, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) locking out the third row. McPhee took P10 from Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) by an infinitesimal 0.001, with rookie Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) pushed down to 12th by just 0.006 after a solid weekend so far for the Turk.
Filip Salač (Redox Prüstel GP) continued his roll of improved pace into qualifying and starts P13, ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and rookie Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), who was one of the fastest on Friday. Ogura is next up, ahead of Antonelli, who looks to make some serious moves forward on Sunday to take some solid points and at least gain on Canet in the standings despite missing out on the chance to make the most of it.
Moto3 Combined Qualifying Times
|4||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA||HONDA||Q2||1m26.460|
MotoE Combined Qualifying Times
|1||Niki TUULI||Ajo MotoE||1m27.456|
|2||Hector GARZO||Tech 3 E-racing||1m28.243|
|3||Eric GRANADO||Avintia Esponsorama Racing||1m28.254|
|4||Mike DI MEGLIO||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1m28.384|
|5||Xavier SIMEON||Avintia Esponsorama Racing||1m28.389|
|6||Matteo FERRARI||TRENTINO Gresini MotoE||1m28.792|
|7||Bradley SMITH||One Energy Racing||1m28.858|
|8||Nicolas TEROL||Openbank Ángel Nieto Team||1m28.982|
|9||Alex DE ANGELIS||OCTO Pramac MotoE||1m29.553|
|10||Mattia CASADEI||Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse||1m29.905|
|11||Lorenzo SAVADORI||TRENTINO Gresini MotoE||1m29.959|
|12||Niccolo CANEPA||LCR E-Team||1m30.376|
|13||Sete GIBERNAU||Join Contract Pons 40||1m30.524|
|14||Kenny FORAY||Tech 3 E-racing||1m30.711|
|15||Randy DE PUNIET||LCR E-Team||1m31.479|
|16||Joshua HOOK||OCTO Pramac MotoE||1m31.831|