Marc Marquez took his sixty-eight pole position in career and his eighth in a row at the Sachsenring today (his fifth there in MotoGP), with Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa joining him on the front row in third place.
Qualifying day at the German GP dawned without rain, but FP3 was the only MotoGP session today to be completed in totally dry conditions. Marc was fastest in that session with Dani ninth, both securing spots in Q2.
FP4 saw the Repsol Honda pair displaying an impressive pace before rain started falling 10 minutes from the end, when Marc was leading the way in first and Dani just behind in second.
Q2 shoot-out saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales secure ninth and eleventh place on the grid for tomorrow‘s GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
After a brilliant FP3 from Rossi, during which he advanced straight into Q2, the Italian was eager to continue making strides in the afternoon qualifying session. He was one of the first riders out of the pit box and left a competitive impression as his first try initially lifted him to fifth place. He was quick to better his time on his next flying lap, but it didn‘t improve his ranking.
Unable to significantly climb the ranks also on his next three attempts, the Doctor decided it was time to change tactics. He returned to the pit box with less than four minutes to go for a tyre swap, opting for the soft front / medium rear combination. A quick minute later he headed back out for his second run and his tyre choice proved to be the right decision for the drying track conditions. He had time for one lap and stepped up his pace on his final try. He set a 1’28.669s to claim ninth position on the grid, 1.367s from first.
Teammate Viñales displayed his confidence in today‘s dry morning free practice session but struggled to reproduce the results in the afternoon in the wet Q2 session. He went straight into action as soon as the green light signalled the start of the 15-minute time attack and slotted into fourth place. He improved his time but not his position on his next lap and was looking to keep the momentum going, but lost valuable seconds as he got involved in a small collision with Marc Marquez.
Despite the incident, the Yamaha rider tried to quickly get back into a good rhythm and, though he continued to struggle to get a feel for the wet conditions, he dug deep and climbed back up from twelfth to ninth, dipping under the 1’29 mark with a 1’28.823s. He had three more attempts at beating his personal best time, but was unable to improve and ended the day in 11th place, 1.521s from the front.
“When I saw that it was going to be a wet qualifying session, I set a front-row position as my target. Anyway, I’ve felt very good on the bike since the beginning and I saw that the rain was easing off, so I tried to find a good rhythm as I prepared to attack in the final stages. Halfway into the session there was a bit of confusion with Maverick. In qualifying everyone pushes a lot and there was some contact, but luckily nothing happened. In the end I was able to do a very good lap and I’m quite happy with that, as it’s always very difficult to manage in the rain. Now we just need to focus on the race, which will be tough as there are many fast riders with a good pace, starting with my teammate! It seems that it won’t rain, but whatever conditions we find, it will be okay, as we have a really good pace both in the dry and in the wet.”
It‘s been a difficult weekend so far. It happened a lot of times this year: the feeling with the bike and especially with the tyres changed a lot from one track to the other. This makes it always a big surprise, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. In the dry I’m not so bad, it’s nothing fantastic, but my pace is not so far from the front, but unfortunately in the wet I suffer more. It looks like all the Yamahas, except Folger who isn’t so bad, suffer in the wet. We didn’t expect it, because last week in Assen I was competitive in the wet, but it looks like this time it’s more difficult, so we need to try some modification for tomorrow and try to be stronger.