Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, Sachsenring: Qualifying roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
It was all or nothing for a ninth consecutive pole at the Sachsenring for reigning Champion and ‘King of the Ring’ Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – but the number 93 seriously had to work for it. By the end of Q2 at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, it’s just 0.025 between Marquez on pole and top Independent Team rider Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) in second – with Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) only another 0.032 off to complete the front row.
After the first runs in the session it was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on provisional pole as the Spaniard was the first to break Marquez’ previous pole lap record from 2015, before the first charge on the second exit saw Lorenzo threaten that – with Petrucci in close pursuit. Over the line the two took over at the top, with Petrucci just ahead, as Marquez began his third run – later crediting the two-stop strategy as a key to his ninth pole at the venue.
On that last dash with the clock counting down, the number 93 was just off in the first sector, put in a personal best second sector and then a red third one – meaning he was up on the previous best overall. But it was mere hundredths and it went right down to the wire, with a solid final sector seeing Marquez just maintain the advantage and pip Petrucci by the tiniest of margins. That means it’s exactly the top two from last season, except then it was over a tenth and a half – and this year it’s half a tenth covering the front row.
Viñales wasn’t able to improve and stayed fourth, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) moved up to fifth after coming from Q1 and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) found some more pace on Saturday to complete the superstar-studded second row – with every one of them keen to get the launch of their lives and move forward at lights out. With Lorenzo ahead of them on the front row, that could be a task. The front row share 11 titles between them – but so do the second.
On the third row, former podium finisher at the venue Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) took P7, ahead of practice pacesetter Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and the on-form Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team), with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) rounding out the top ten. The number 26 has an impeccable record at the track – it’s the venue at which he’s had most success, along with Valencia – and could be one to watch when the lights go out.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starts P11 and Q1 graduate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) starts P12, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) hot on their heels in thirteenth. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) complete the top fifteen on the grid after Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), who just missed out on a place in Q2, received a six-place grid penalty for the race following ‘irresponsible riding’ in FP3; now starting P19.
Think you know what’s going to happen in the German GP? You might be the only one…From 14:00 (GMT +2) the grid will be back out to race and see who will take the momentum into the summer break.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) grabbed his second pole of the season at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland to finish 0.181 seconds ahead of fellow Italian Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), with his teammate, Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), rounding out the front row to make it an all-Italian front three for the first time ever in Moto2™.
The intermediate class took to the Sachsenring in beautiful conditions and it was the eventual pole sitter who came out the blocks with all cylinders firing, climbing to the top of the timesheets to set his benchmark time of 1:23.787 on his fourth flying lap – a time that would go unbeaten. The two VR46 riders went out in tandem with Bagnaia leading Marini around the 3.6km circuit, with the latter going 0.002 quicker than his teammate to claim his second consecutive front row start. Bagnaia had to settle for third, but will be confident of challenging for the win in Sunday’s race to try and extend his Championship lead over Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – the Portuguese rider starts 15th.
Fourth and the leading KTM was Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) as he launches from the front of the second row, with 0.001 splitting the British rider from Bagnaia. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) recovered from a crash in FP3 to qualify fifth on the grid, with FP2’s quickest rider Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) rounding out Row 2 at the team’s home Grand Prix.
After a heavy fall at Turn 8 in FP3, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was able to earn a seventh place start in qualifying, with teammate Joan Mir just 0.013 behind him in eighth. At his home Grand Prix, Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) will launch from ninth in a bid to stand on the rostrum for the first time, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in 10th – less than four tenths from pole position.
Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) was an early faller in the session at Turn 3, the Frenchman will have work to do from P18 if he’s to claim his third consecutive podium. Meanwhile, Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) also crashed at Turn 3 late on – both riders were ok.
Less than a second covers Pawi in P24 to pole in what is an incredibly tight intermediate class field. Who will take victory at the German GP tomorrow? Find out when the Moto2™ riders go racing at 12:20 local time (GMT +2) on Sunday.
Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) secured his sixth pole of 2018 thanks to his 1:28.434 at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, beating Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai), claimed a podium finish at the Sachsenring last season, by 0.060 seconds as the Spaniard earned his first front row start in the lightweight class, with Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) rounding out the front row in third.
After a nasty crash at Turn 3 in FP3, Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) bounced back to secure his best ever Grand Prix qualifying result in fourth – a fantastic end to the session for the rookie. Behind the Spaniard was compatriot Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who qualifies fifth on the grid despite a highside at on the exit of Turn 1 with just over 15 minutes to go. Rounding out the second row of the grid in sixth was Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) who qualifies well again at the Sachsenring after his P5 last season – just 0.005 back from Canet.
Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) recovered from an early crash at Turn 3 in qualifying to spearhead the third row of the grid in seventh – 0.349 back from Championship rival Martin, with John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) in eighth. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) had a solid session in ninth, qualifying as the leading Japanese rider, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) rounding out a top ten on Saturday that was covered by just 0.457 seconds.
On his first outing at the Sachsenring, Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) qualified well in P11 after briefly sitting inside the top three, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) also dropping from a front row start to outside the top ten in P12. German Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) will launch from P13 at his home Grand Prix after slipping down the order in the latter stages, with stand-in rider Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) impressing in 14th, just over half a second back from pole.
So, it’s Martin who once again is the king of qualifying in the lightweight class, his 15th career pole, who can stop him from converting P1 on the grid to victory on Sunday? Tune in for the Moto3™ race at 11:00 local time (GMT +2) to find out.