Round nine of the 2014 MotoGP season takes place at Germany’s Sachsenring; a technical circuit whose combination of abrasive tarmac and fast left-hand turns make it one the most punishing tracks for tyres.
The Sachsenring circuit is one of the shorter circuits on the MotoGP calendar, measuring just 3.671 kilometres in length. However, with ten left-hand turns compared to just three right-handers, the Sachsenring is extremely punishing on the left shoulder of the tyres, and the lack of right-hand turns means superior warm-up performance for the tyres is also a key requirement at this circuit.
The imbalance in the number of left and right-hand turns at this circuit means asymmetric rear slicks are supplied. However the large difference in temperatures generated on the shoulders of the tyres due to the many successive left-hand corners means the difference in compound hardness between the left and right shoulders of the rear slicks is greater than at other circuits. The rear slick options for the German Grand Prix are the soft and medium compound for the Open-class and Ducati entrants, and the medium and hard compound asymmetric rear slicks for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders.
The front slick tyre allocation for Sachsenring is the soft, medium and hard compound options to ensure excellent warm-up performance and safety in the case of cool conditions, as well as superior front-end stability. The main wet tyre for Sachsenring is the soft compound, however each rider can select up to two front and rear tyres of the alternative, hard compound wet tyre if they desire.
“It was a tough and complicated weekend in Assen, but I was really happy to win a race under such tricky conditions. Now we have Sachsenring which is a nice circuit, but quite special as it’s so small! Last year I had a good race but we must remember that neither Dani or Jorge were able to race so this year I look forward to racing them, especially as Dani is so strong at this track! It seems the Honda is well suited to this circuit so we will look to make the most of this advantage.”
“It was a tricky weekend in Assen and in those kind of races, it’s easy to lose many points in the Championship, so I’m pleased with our podium finish. Now we’re heading to Germany where I had a disappointing weekend last year after being declared unfit to race due to my crash on Saturday. I always enjoy racing at Sachsenring and finding the right set up is critical – especially as you spend a lot of time on the left, but the fastest corner is to the right, so tyre performance will be key. I’m looking forward to getting there to make up for missing last year!”
“Last race was my first experience in the wet aboard a MotoGP bike and despite the end result not being a true reflection of my potential on the bike, I still felt the best I have so far this year on the Yamaha which included topping the opening practice session. I feel really optimistic of a strong result this weekend, whatever the weather decides to do and last year I obtained a 3rd place podium finish on my way to the World Championship title in Moto2. With the track being very tight and with not much of a straight, there’s no rest therefore we are on it for the entire race, so for sure it will be a challenging one. I feel strong aboard the bike at the moment and I am convinced that I can at least challenge for, if not clinch, the position of the leading satellite bike in Germany.”
“After the conditions caused a bit of a strange race at Assen, I was still able to put together a really strong race pace when the track dried out which is really positive. At Sachsenring I hope to emulate this and scoop a top result. My joint best position of 6th was achieved here last year and with the nature of the circuit suiting the Yamaha I’m confident we can do even better this week. The tyres will be vital at this track as there are 10 left corners but only 3 right, plus it could rain, yet I remain certain of my ability aboard the Yamaha and I know we can do well this race for round 9 of the championship. I am primed and ready to gun for a top five this weekend, I look forward to putting on a great show plus riding the waterfall again!”
“Germany is a very tight, twisty track with almost all the corners connected so there’s no time to breath and you must stay so focused for the whole lap. With no more Laguna I think it must be the shortest lap time of any track we go to so every tenth of a second is precious and you have to really claw for every tenth. At the same time it also has some very fast corners that I like and normally I enjoy this track. The race is here is always very long with a lot of time spent on the left tyre edge so its important to find a setting to find good edge grip and make the tyre last on the left. On the other hand if the conditions are cool it’s very important to get heat and keep heat on the right side, particularly on the front tyre with there being only three right hand corners. I know its not exactly my best moment right now but me and the team have to stay strong and keep pushing!”
“Sachsenring is a different circuit, peculiar and special. You won’t find anything like it anywhere in the world. It is small but at the same time technical. The most positive thing for us is that with it being so small you don’t need so much power and that evens things up a little in MotoGP. I am sure we can be competitive there after doing a good job last time out in Holland, where we had a strong first half of the race. Unfortunately the second half of the race wasn’t so good but we will be working to follow up on the positives from Assen to try and be more competitive this weekend and more consistent over full race distance. I like the track and it should suit our bike well so I am sure we can have a good result this weekend.”
“The Sachsenring is a slow track with some very twisty parts: given that recently we have been struggling to find a good compromise to be strong on the fast corners, we are confident that we can achieve a good feeling with the bike on this kind of track.. We’re coming from the Assen flag-to-flag race, where it was very easy to make mistakes, but nevertheless we managed to collect a good placement; in addition, last year in Germany we had a really good race, therefore we look forward to this Grand Prix with a great motivation. The Thursday before the race weekend some riders will test some changes to Turn 11 in order to increase the safaty; it will be interesting to see if these changes will actually be adopted for the future, although this year we will run with the same layout as last year”.
“Assen was my first wet race in MotoGP and we got a good result, thanks to which we arrive now at the Sachsenring with one point of advantage in the standings on our rivals aboard the other Open Class Hondas, and we want to try to maintain this leadership. Racing at Sachsenring will certainly be interesting, because the circuit is really small, and these bikes are so fast! I like the track, it has some ups and downs and lots of corners, with few straights. On paper, it also adapts well to our bike; I’ve always preferred right-hadn corners and on this track they are almost all on the left; in any case, it could be really funny to ride a MotoGP there, and we have to wait to see what we can get”.
“The result at Assen was very important for me and the Ducati Team, but I don’t think we have the speed in dry conditions to be able to aim for the podium too much. As always however we must push 100% and improve over last year. In my opinion Sachsenring is too short and too tight for MotoGP, but I think the bike has improved from last year so we have to show the difference at every race, like we did at Assen”.
“I’ve never ridden at the Sachsenring on the Ducati, but I like the track and went really well there last year, when I was second in qualifying and finished second in the race, which is one of my best results ever in MotoGP. Unfortunately because of the layout and the corners I think we will have a few problems with understeer on this track, but we will see and as always I’ll try my best to be competitive”.