MotoGP Riders reflect on Sachsenring MotoGP
Marc Marquez – P1
“At a certain point today, I thought my run at this circuit was going to come to an end, but in the end we succeeded and earned a very good result, especially considering how Valentino [Rossi] and Jorge [Lorenzo] finished the race. I’m very happy with how we worked with the team today: they did a great job preparing my bike after my crash in the warm-up, and then in the race our strategy proved to be perfect.
“It was a very difficult race, with it being flag-to-flag and the track conditions so delicate. In the first part of the race, in the wet, I found things a little difficult. I had picked the wrong front tyre for my riding style, but I was able to switch to slicks. I was very careful in the opening laps after changing bikes, because the dry line was very narrow and there was still a lot of water on the surface.
“It’s always very difficult to decide when to change bikes, and perhaps we made our switch very early—I think I was the second rider to do so—but I decided to take a chance and it went well. We end the first half of the season with our homework done and off the back of a good race, but we must not forget to prepare well for the second half of the year.”
Cal Crutchlow – P2
“It was so difficult to manage at the start, but we tried our very best as always. I think I’m one of the strongest guys in these conditions, and I have been one of the strongest all weekend, I just needed to do it in the race, and I managed to do it. I should have come into the pits earlier, but I didn’t see my pit board, so I came in with Rossi and Dovizioso because they were leading.
“It was a case of settling for a possible podium or staying with the leaders, and I chose that. I’m looking forward to a small celebration tonight with the LCR Honda Team, we deserve it so much and we can now go into the summer break and the remainder of the races so happy. I also missed my wife Lucy this weekend, it’s only the second race she’s missed in nine years, but she is set to give birth just before the next grand prix in Austria, so I can’t wait for that now.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P3
“I managed to get off to a good start and immediately get into the leading group. After Petrucci’s crash, I took the lead again and concentrated on lapping quickly without wearing out the front tyre, trying not to turn into the corners abruptly and getting the bike back up out of the corners as soon as possible. The track was starting to dry out, but I stayed focused on the tyres and for this reason I missed out on the best moment to come back in and change bikes. Maybe if I had come in at least two laps before, we might have been celebrating the win. But let’s look on the positive side: we were at the Sachsenring, on a track where we have never gone well, and today we were in the lead for lots of laps. In the end we go back home with a well-deserved podium, which I want to dedicate to my team who have been working really hard.”
Scott Redding – P4
“If someone had told me yesterday that I could finish fourth I would not have believed. It is clear: I’m sorry for not being on the podium for the second time in a row but I am happy for this race. I made a mistake at the beginning but I felt good on the bike and started to recover position. Tyre choice? This was the best option. There is no communication with the team during the race and this makes it difficult. And then when I left the pits the track was still too wet for slicks. I thank the whole team for the great job done.”
Andrea Iannone – P5
“Today was a very complicated race. In the early laps I was lapping at the same pace as the leaders, even though I had some problems in acceleration, and as I had to make up in the corners what I was losing on the straight I began to notice some problems with the front. In some corners the steering tended to turn in on itself and I realised that I was taking too many risks, so I decided to slow my pace to try and keep the situation under control. At this point I opted to come in early to change bikes and we had a few problems in the pit-lane, but these are things that can happen with all the confusion, and probably the guys in my team didn’t expect me to come in so soon. When I returned to the track the surface was still very wet and I tried to limit the damage by not making any mistakes. In the end I took home a fifth place and some good points for the championship, all the while making up points on those ahead of me in the standings and this is important.”
Dani Pedrosa – P6
“I wasn’t feeling super-strong in the wet today, not like in this morning’s warm-up. I had chosen the front super soft tyre and I didn’t expect the track to dry so quickly. I tried to keep a constant pace and not make mistakes. Unfortunately, when I made the swap my feeling in the dry wasn’t the best until I get some temperature in the tyres, but at least I managed to make a few passes and finish sixth. I would have liked to do better, but we must to stay focused and prepare for the coming races.”
Jack Miller – P7
“It was a really good race and I can be happy with the result. But in all honesty I should have trusted my team more and come in earlier for the bike change. It’s a real shame I stayed out a little bit too long because I am sure I could have been standing on the podium again. It was a tough call to make and there was about seven laps to go and I kept thinking about finishing the race on the wet tyres. It was frustrating to see everybody come flying by me and I knew I had to come in and change. As soon as I went back out on slicks I just said ‘why didn’t I do this earlier?’ It was a big lesson for me to take on board but it was my first real flag-to-flag race and it is good experience for me. I still had a lot of fun racing at the front with the likes of Valentino and I nearly passed Dani on the last lap to take the top six. When I was out on the slicks at the end my pace was really competitive and that gives me a big boost of confidence for the future.”
Valentino Rossi – P8
“It’s a great shame for us, because I was competitive on the dry and under normal conditions I could have done a good race. I was also competitive in the wet, so also in a normal wet race I could have fought for the victory, but unfortunately it was a half-and-half race. If I had stopped two or three laps earlier it would have been a bit better and I could have arrived in sixth place instead of eighth, but the bigger problem was when I restarted I was very slow. I had no feeling with the bike and I wasn’t strong enough. Dovizioso and Crutchlow were with me and we stopped on the same lap, but they were able to arrive on the podium.”
“It’s a very big question mark if it would have been better if I had ridden on slicks. I had a very bad feeling on the intermediates, but nobody knows if I could have been faster with slicks, it also could have been worse. Maybe our bike in those conditions, when the track is really damp, is a little bit more difficult and gives less feeling.”
Hector Barbera – P9
“It was a crazy race, but at the end we were unlucky. After 15 laps the track dried out really quick and I always struggle in mixed conditions. While it was wet, I did my maximum and we were in really good positions, but then, when I changed bikes, it was not so positive. In the first lap I lost too much time getting the feeling, and the pace of the guys who changed before was much faster. Finally, I lost many places. Overall it was a positive race, we were closer than ever to the front, and the team did a fantastic job during the weekend. Yesterday we took second in qualifying and today we battled until the end of the race. It was a shame because we were not able to show our potential with a good result, but ninth is not so bad. We were competitive on the wet and also in the dry, so it’s just a matter of time to get an even better result. Now we go into the summer break seventh in the championship and ahead of the rest of Ducatis, so we must be happy.”
Alvaro Bautista – P10
“A complicated race. We started in the wet, but it wasn’t raining, so the track was gradually drying out. I had a good start and, in those conditions, I managed to overtake several riders until moving up to eighth place. At a certain point, when the track was improving, the rain tyre performance began to drop, especially the front. I also tried to change my lines a bit, but I had no choice but to stop to change bikes. With the intermediates, the feeling was not perfect. We had done very little testing with them and both in terms of chassis and electronics I did not have an optimum setup for this type of tyre. In the race, though, on such treacherous asphalt, it is definitely not the best time to try to find the limit. The tenth place finish is in line with our goals. These are important points but more importantly, today we battled with very high-level rivals. There are still a few regrets, because if we had stayed in wet conditions we would have been able to do better, but the end result is decidedly positive”.
Eugene Laverty – P11
“Scott Redding was in front of me at the start and he spun up the rear tyre, so I had to close the gas completely. That left me quite far back on the first corner. It was certainly dramatic. Also, when Yonny crashed he nearly took me down with him –and I closed the gas again and lost some more positions. It was crazy out there. I was optimistic after this morning, but something really strange happened with the traction control setting in the wet and it meant that the bike just wouldn’t go; it was so strong that it felt as if I had half the power. That’s racing though. We made a stop and then we did a good job on the intermediate tyre, so all-in-all it wasn’t a bad race. I could have come in a few laps earlier, but I was looking at the sky and thinking that it was going to rain again –as it had been all day. It’s a bit of a gamble and it can either pay off or not”.
Maverick Viñales – P12
“This has been a very tough race for me, the result is not satisfying at all and it means we are not yet competitive in the wet races. We still have to improve the traction, with these conditions I cannot push and be performing because I can’t find acceleration. It is a problem we have also in the dry, but there I can counterbalance with the riding, and on wet it becomes bigger and bigger, so it is hard to keep the competitor’s pace. The base-pack we have is really good, but this struggle with the grip is preventing us harvesting better results. I know Suzuki is working hard on this and I hope they can find some solutions soon, either with the electronics or with the set-up.”
Bradley Smith – P13
“It goes without saying that it was a tough GP, but I did the best that I could in what was a tricky day of racing for me. On the opening lap, Hernandez hit me and knocked off my left knee slider. This would have been an issue in the dry, but in the wet, where the sliders are thicker, it was even more of a challenge. I made the call to pit and change to the bike with the intermediate tyres at the correct moment. Yet, we also had to put a new knee slider on in the pit lane and this had a knock-on effect. When I returned to the track, we had already lost a lot of time so it was damage limitation and I recovered a couple of places. It was a frustrating end to the weekend because the team deserve more than three points and of course I want to be fighting for the top independent position. However, one positive that we can take away from this weekend is that I had good pace on the intermediate tyres and I was one of the faster guys for a period. At the moment, we can’t seem to catch a lucky break, but I am fit and healthy as we go into the summer break so I will stay positive. I will work hard in the next three weeks in order to come back much stronger and therefore, be ready for the second half of the season.”
Aleix Espargaró – P14
“Today’s race has been very hard, we still struggle to find good traction and this prevents me accelerating properly. We need to better-understand and work-on the electronics; this morning in the warm-up the traction control was too weak and had a lot of spinning, so we tried to increase for the race, but eventually we went in the opposite direction and had a problem with too much electronics cutting the power. This is an issue we have to further investigate; we have been improving a lot lately on many aspects, but the electronics still have many grey areas to us.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P15
“After the warm up it was clear that we wouldn’t be able to fight with the top guys in this race but at least I was better and faster than during the warm up. When the track started to dry I was losing positions because I didn’t feel safe or had confidence in the front tyre, neither on braking or in the corners, and then I changed bikes when the team wrote on the pit board to come in. Maybe it was a bit too late this time for the best strategy to finish a bit more at the front in the classification.”
Tito Rabat – P16
“I am very disappointed with the outcome of today’s race. It was very difficult in the full wet conditions but I think I came in and changed bikes at the right time when the track was drying very quickly. I was pushing to try and fight inside the top 10 because today was a good opportunity to do that but unfortunately I crashed at the final corner. The fortunate thing is I escaped injury and now I can look forward to training hard in the summer and coming back strong at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.”
Loris Baz – P17
“It was a very difficult race from the beginning. It was raining on the grid and logically we did not think that the track would dry so quickly. We started the race with a tyre that I felt comfortable with during warm-up, the softest one. After a few laps the rain stopped and the tyres started to overheat. As a result of that I did not have any feeling with the front anymore. I wanted to make a pit stop to change the bike. After that I went out again with a slick rear tyre. The track was changing every lap and I almost crashed several times.”
“Unfortunately there was a small misunderstanding in terms of the tyre choice at the moment when I had to stop so I had to pit in again to change for the intermediate tyre. Being two laps behind, I did not take unnecessary risks until the end. It wasn’t the race I was hoping for especially after leading the warm-up for a long time in the wet. We found a good set-up for the race and everything was looking good had the conditions stayed the same for the race. I think that without these problems I could have scored points. I did not expect such a difficult weekend for my comeback. We had problems that we were able to resolve. Then I could not force it too much due to my foot. We will benefit from the test on Wednesday and Thursday in Austria to get back on the right track. This test will be important and will determine the second half of the season. After the test I will continue my training and I will also take some days off. It is possible to do both during the summer and then come back in full force.”
Yonny Hernández – P18
“I feel sad, because we came into the race off the back of some very good progress, but we suffered because of the rain. I passed Laverty, collided with Smith and crashed out. I hope that we can shake this streak and move on to better times. We are working hard during the practice sessions and throughout the season to get results. We know we have the potential to be much further ahead, so now we will focus on the Austrian test and reaching the next race with positive energy.”
Pol Espargaro – DNF
“It’s easy to admit that I am very disappointed about the race after the performance we have shown over the whole weekend. Unfortunately at the beginning of the Grand Prix, I didn’t feel as comfortable as I did this morning because the conditions had changed quite a lot and the track was dryer. Therefore, I struggled a bit and lost a few positions in the opening part of the race. I was behind Marquez when we both decided to change bikes and I’m convinced this was the best strategy today, so in terms of tactics, I think we could have clinched second because Marc won the race with a huge gap. However, sometimes when you risk a lot and you are one of the first to do so, you take more of a chance than other people and mistakes can be made. Of course, it is a pity to close the first half of the season with our first DNF of the year, but at least we could keep 6th and the best satellite rider position in the Championship standings, which is our goal for the year. Now the calendar has three weeks off, but I won’t have as much rest as the other riders because I am heading to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours race.”
DNF – Danilo Petrucci
“It was great to be in front. We had chosen to use the front hard tire ìand it was the right choice because after a few laps the track began to dry. I was the only one in the group ahead with that rubber and Marquez and Redding who had done the same choice were struggling. I was trying to handle even though I had already taken a big risk. Then the front closed without any warnings. I’m very sorry for the team who did an awesome job. We were fast even in the dry and I would have liked to run in these conditions. However, I must say that we come out of this weekend with great confidence. We are on track and we have to continue like this.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“It’s a shame that, much like the Dutch Grand Prix, the weather again influenced today’s race results. Valentino’s side made the right tyre choice at the start of the race, but the track conditions changed so rapidly during the second half of the race that it made the strategy to change bikes a bit of a lottery. Vale rode a really strong race on his wet tyres, but lost some time when he reentered the track and it’s unfortunate that his result for today doesn’t reflect how strong he was during the majority of this weekend. Jorge struggled to find a good feeling in today’s mixed conditions and gave all he had to increase his points total in the championship standings. We will regroup and look forward to coming back stronger at the next race in Austria.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“Unfortunately this has been another difficult race for us. At Assen already we struggled in the wet, for this reason we got back to the factory and exploited the one extra week break to prepare some countermeasures for these kind of conditions. Then here, in Germany, the rain came only on Sunday, so we could try only a very few of them; and unfortunately they proved to not be as effective as we had wished. The problem we have is clear, and we are all aware of it, so we will exploit the summer break to further-develop some solutions in order to be better-prepared for the next time we find such hard conditions.”
Michael Bartholemy – Marc VDS Team Principal
“Jack put up another great fight in what were extremely difficult conditions but it was clear that he came in too late to change to the slick tyres. If he had come in three laps earlier then I’m sure he could have at least maintained his position in the top six and possibly fought for the podium again. Seventh place is still not a bad result and Jack is on a good run of form at the moment, which gives us plenty of reason to be optimistic that he can take another step after the summer break. It is a shame that Tito crashed because I think he made the bike change at the perfect time. He could have scored some decent points but at least he wasn’t hurt in the crash and we can look forward to the both of them testing at the Red Bull Ring this week in preparation for the next race. We’ve had an incredible win and some other positive results in the first half of the season, so the team is looking forward to a well deserved summer break before we carry on the fight in Austria.”
Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager
“A race complicated by weather conditions that we managed very well, finishing in the top ten once again, which is always our goal, and where we were also battling with absolutely top shelf riders. Alvaro did very well in all the asphalt conditions and the team worked well. We could have done even better if Stefan had been in the race too because we could have used different strategies for the two riders. It would have been nice to see him in his home race, making a play for everything he could since he had shown very interesting signs during practice. I wish him all the best to recover soon”.
Fausto Gresini – Aprilia Team Manager
“We rode a brilliant race, including our strategy choices. Today we got very close to the group of riders who had always been far out of reach for us until now. Alvaro backed off only at the end because the tyres kept him from pushing all the way and he preferred to bring home this nice result. We did our very best and we are quite happy”.
Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was forced to miss him home race after a fall in Warm Up. He was taken to the local hospital for a CT scan after suffering a concussion in the crash.