Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez set the quickest ever lap time at Sachsenring in qualifying for the German Grand Prix, the reigning MotoGP World Champion setting a time of 1’20.937 to head an all-Honda front row for tomorrow’s race. Riding high on confidence after topping the earlier Free Practice 4 session, Marquez’s record-breaking effort came on his penultimate lap in Qualifying Practice 2 and saw him beat teammate Dani Pedrosa to pole position by 0.296 seconds. Hometown hero Stefan Bradl brought smiles to the scores of German fans at Sachsenring by finishing third quickest on his LCR Honda RC213V with a best time of 1’21.340. All the riders on the front row used the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear for their time attack in QP2.
Weather conditions today were slightly cooler than yesterday, and a light rain shower at the start of FP4 prevented some riders going out on track until the second half of the session, although both qualifying sessions were completely dry. The peak track temperature recorded today was 31°C; 13°C cooler than yesterday’s high. The cooler track temperatures resulted in the riders preferring the soft and medium compound options for both the front and rear tyre today. Any of the three front slick options could appear on the grid for the race depending on the temperature tomorrow, with cooler temperatures likely to see the race choice steer towards the soft and medium options. The consensus from riders on their preferred rear tyre choice is the soft compound for the Ducati and Open-class riders and the medium compound for the Factory-class Honda and Yamaha riders.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast is for slightly warmer temperatures with a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. The thirty-lap German Grand Prix commences at 1400 local time (GMT+1) but before then the MotoGP riders will be out on track for the morning Warm Up session at 0940.
“The weekend has been affected by the crash I suffered yesterday, but I kept my nerve and little by little we’ve been getting better. I felt good yesterday afternoon and I was much better this morning. In the few laps I did in FP4, I could see that we had a good pace and a chance to fight for pole position. With the first tyre I didn’t feel entirely comfortable, but with the second one I had a good feeling and could see that there was good grip — so I decided to push a little more and put in a strong lap. Starting from the front is important for the race tomorrow, because this is a circuit where it is difficult to overtake. We will try and keep up the pace from practice, which I think has been good”.
“It was a good qualifying session and we had a good pace, despite the crash which was my fault when I think I hit a bump under braking but luckily I’m fine. I’m very grateful to my mechanics for the work they did yesterday to get the bike back running again after my crash in FP2. Tomorrow we will try to do our best, position ourselves well from the start, make a good tyre choice and hope the weather is kind to us! Our setup is definitely good, so I hope to have a good race”.
“Fifth is definitely not what we expected from today’s qualifying session, especially because we have a good pace and because we’ve always been in the top three during the weekend. In the qualifying we couldn’t take profit from the new tyres and the second tyre didn’t have the same traction, I don’t know why, it was spinning a lot and felt like a different tyre. The maximum we could do would have been third or fourth at this track. It’s going to be a very long race, the first lap will be important because it’s difficult to overtake here but we will try to get another podium. We are not so bad in pace so let’s see if we can stay with the front guys.”
“Fortunately I did quite a good lap with the first tyre. Usually you can go faster with the second tyre by two or three tenths, but there was something wrong with the second one. It didn’t have any grip and it was also very difficult to get the bike back to the box. There was something wrong, so unfortunately I couldn’t push. I’m on the second row and the second row is the limit for a good race. Today we worked well on the bike, we’re not so bad, but for tomorrow it will be hard. Our competitors are very fast so we have to improve.”
“Of course 8th is not where we wanted to finish but I think we were close to our maximum with this performance, I was just two tenths away from the fastest Factory Yamaha which shows how tricky things are. Plus I had a big fall this morning where I made a mistake in turn ten and then lost the front of the bike in the following corner, but luckily no injuries were caused. Aside from this, I am happy because we improved the braking stability from yesterday and this is where we gain a lot of time, however there is still some work to be done to make the acceleration better as this is where we are struggling at the moment. For sure tomorrow will be a challenging race due to the narrow, twisting nature of the circuit so a strong start is vital to success here and I would be really happy if we scored a top six finish.”
“Today was another eventful day and in all honesty, I’m a little frustrated as we had the potential to easily qualify on the second row. I had a fall this morning which could have been much worse, but I managed to save it as best as I could. However during the incident, the foot peg went into the front of my leg and I needed stiches, so of course this was a far from perfect start. Still, I did my best and this afternoon the Yamaha felt really good. Unfortunately, I pushed a little bit too hard too early on turn 3 and 4 where we have been fast all weekend but the limit was reached that time. It’s a pity especially as the start is really important at this narrow track. Now I need to get a good rest to be in the best possible condition and I still remain confident that we will be able to fight for a strong result tomorrow afternoon.”
“It’s a pity that we miss the front row for just 0.036, but in the second run I lot some time in the first corner, compromising a “perfect lap”. Anyway I’m 1 tenth from Dani Pedrosa and I’m confident for the race as we have a good pace. The race will be long (30 laps) so the choice of the tyres will be crucial. I haven’t decided yet, today in fact we used both soft and hard tyre with a good feeling. Tomorrow we will try to maintain the contact with the front guys and fighting for the best possible result. After a 6th place in Barcelona and a 4th place in Assen, I aim at finishing in the top 5.”
“Today we continued to work on the bike set up, playing with the front spring and at the end of the session we could improve a bit the feeling with the front. We understand what we have been struggling for this season and I look forward to make another step forward.”
“I am very glad I was able to get the seventh position, since the beginning of the weekend that they are the first Ducati, but the result that counts is tomorrow’s. This is one of the hardest tracks we faced and it is very difficult to keep a small gap from the first, even if the track is so short. The team is working well, the weekend is going in the right direction and I honestly did not expect to be able to do a similar time, so I’m very happy with what we managed to do! “
“For a hair i could have accessed to QP2, in spite of this I am very happy with how it today. Lap after lap I was able to improve more and more. I was able to race in lap times not too distant from the official Ducati bikes. Tomorrow I hope to do well in the race, I really enjoy this circuit although it is not at all simple. “
“Our main goal today was to qualify for Q2. It is clear that once you get through to that, you are in another league and you have to keep pushing even harder. I’m happy because our times were quite positive, we rode faster than we had during the rest of the weekend, but everyone else also lowered their times. It would have been interesting to have an extra tyre to try to improve our best time a little more still. Nevertheless, I am satisfied; today we have had our best qualifying session for a long time. I want to thank the team for their work this weekend; we have taken a step forward. It’s nothing massive, but the competition is so fierce in this class that any significant development is very small. Now we have to continue to concentrate and try to keep it up for the race. We know it will be hard, but we will try to have as much fun as possible.”
“Before qualifying the conditions were critical, because it rained at the end of Moto3. Looking at the state of the asphalt we decided to use the soft front tyre, and I think we made the right decision because I felt more comfortable than during the practice sessions. This allowed me to ride three tenths faster than before. At the end of the session I tried to push a little to get into the top places, but I made a small mistake on the last corner. Finally we qualified in sixteenth position, which is not a bad result considering that today we found some improvements. I hope the improvements allow us to be more consistent during the race tomorrow. At this circuit the differences to other riders are minimal, so it gives us more chance of achieving a good result.”
“Today we worked a lot to find some more rear grip, because yesterday we have been struggling a lot with that; this morning we found something which helped me to be more comfortable and during FP4 we wanted to try another setting in order to improve further, but unfortunately we couldn’t do it due to the bad weather. In Qualifying we continue to struggle when we put the new tyre: I don’t know why, but I have exactly the same feeling when I use either the new or the used tyre. This is not a good sign, obviously. However, in FP4 with used tyres I managed to keep a good pace, so I remain confident for tomorrow’s race, but when you start from the back it’s always difficult to stay with the front group. Anyway, we have to work to improve our performance with the new tyres, because if we have a good rhythm but we can’t start from the front of the grid, it’s quite difficult to make a good result”.
“Today we had a good opportunity to go to the Qualifying 2, but at the beginning of Qualifying 1 I made a wrong decision with the front tyre: I went out with the soft front tyre and I felt a lot of movement, so I came back to the pits to go out with the harder one, which was better, and doing so I lost some precious time in the beginning. Moreover, if we check my ideal time, my best lap time would have been three tenths faster: in my best lap I lost most of the time in the first sector. Tomorrow it’s going to be a long and demanding race, we have to see what happens: we will use the rear soft tyre; regarding the front tyre, it will depend on the weather conditions”.
MotoGP Sachsenring qualifying timings
- FRONT ROW
- 1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’20.937
- 2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’21.233
- 3. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’21.340
- SECOND ROW
- 4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’21.376
- 5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’21.508
- 6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’21.651
- THIRD ROW
- 7. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing 1’21.679
- 8. Pol EspargarÃ² (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’21.771
- 9. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’21.794
- FOURTH ROW
- 10. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’21.906
- 11. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 1’22.120
- 12. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar 1’22.647
- FIFTH ROW
- 13. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 1’22.411
- 14. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’22.436
- 15. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team 1’22.529
- SIXTH ROW
- 16. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar 1’22.659
- 17. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 1’22.778
- 18. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’22.845
- SEVENTH ROW
- 19. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’22.888
- 20. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 1’23.029
- 21. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 1’23.423
- EIGHTH ROW
- 22. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’23.428
- 23. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Iodaracing Team 1’23.484