Results and summary of QP for the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring:
Results and summary of Qualifying Practice for the 125cc class:
Andrea Iannone underlined the strength of his challenge during the Saturday morning session of free practice for the Moto2 class, putting the FIMMCO Speed Up bike at the top of the timesheets with a late charge. Iannone held off Mapfre Aspar's Julian Simon, with Cardion AB's Karel Abraham very close behind. Abraham's fortunes have improved since the Czech rider made the switch from the RSV chassis to the FTR earlier this year. Simone Corsi continued his strong start to the weekend, ending up 4th, ahead of stand-in rider Damian Cudlin on the Pons Kalex. Despite being Australian, Cudlin is almost a local, living not far from the circuit and contesting the German IDM championship for the past few years. Still, for his first time on Moto2 machinery, an impressive result.
After a mediocre start at the Sachsenring, Jorge Lorenzo rediscovered his form this morning, setting the fastest time of the morning's FP2 session at the Sachsenring at the very end of practice. The Fiat Yamaha rider had dominated for much of the session, with Marlboro Ducati's Casey Stoner his only real challenger. Stoner ended the session in 2nd, over a tenth behind.
Valentino Rossi's miraculous recovery continues apace, the Fiat Yamaha rider ending the morning session in 3rd, four tenths behind his teammate, but ahead of yesterday's fastest man, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa sneaked ahead of LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet, the Frenchman continuing to impress on the satellite Honda, finishing ahead of the second factory bike of Andrea Dovizioso.
Marc Marquez continues to lead the 125cc class, topping the timesheets in a damp morning FP2 session. But unlike yesterday, Marquez' dominance is not total: the Red Bull Ajo rider has Tuenti Derbi's Pol Espargaro within a tenth of a second, but Espargaro is the only rider capable of getting close. Third fastest in the morning was Esteve Rabat, who was over nine tenths' off of Marquez, and only eight thousandths ahead of Norwegian ex-Red Bull Rookie Sturla Fagerhaug.
The madness which unfolded at yesterday's press conference heralded the return of Valentino Rossi into the paddock. Rossi's return to the track was, by comparison, relatively ordinary, or perhaps we had just forgotten what he standard level of hype and fascination Rossi generates any time he is at a racetrack.
After worming his way through a wall of photographers, all desperate to capture his first meters back on the Fiat Yamaha M1, Rossi rolled out onto the Sachsenring circuit, and quickly demonstrated that no, his return had not been too early. Rossi led the timesheets early, and spent most of the session in the top five, before slipping down the order to finish the day in 7th.
"I'm happy because I feel quite good on the bike. This is the most important thing," Rossi said after practice. He was helped by the track, Rossi explained: "It has a lot of left corners, so it's a good track to come back."
Simone Corsi set the fastest time at the debut of the Moto2 class at the Sachsenring, putting his Motobi ahead of the FIMMCO Speed Up of Gabor Talmacsi by over two tenths of a second, a significant margin at the short German circuit. Alex Baldolini set the third fastest time on the Caretta Technologies ICP, finishing ahead of Julian Simon on the Mapfre Aspar bike. Simon, along with a number of other Suter riders, has a revised chassis in Germany. The Swiss chassis builder is not alone, though, as the MZ has a new frame and swingarm, and the Promoharris bikes have a completely revised fairing package, which Kenny Noyes unfortunately managed to completely destroy in a crash. The Moto2 practice was plagued by crashes, with Toni Elias managing to crash twice in the space of ten minutes, but ending up 5th on the grid.
Dani Pedrosa set the standard in the first session of practice for the MotoGP class, the Repsol Honda rider taking over the top spot with a quarter of the session to go with a convincing lap under the 1'22 mark. As the session neared its end, Pedrosa came under pressure from future teammate Casey Stoner. The Marlboro Ducati rider had himself taken over the top spot from Jorge Lorenzo at the halfway mark, and looked to be dominating practice, until Pedrosa put in an extra burst of pace.
That the Ducati is working well at the Sachsenring was confirmed by Nicky Hayden, who nicked into the top three at the end of the session, displacing a surprising Ben Spies, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider showing very strongly at his first visit to the Sachsenring. Spies' 4th position made him the first Yamaha rider, with the factory Fiat Yamaha bikes of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi down in 6th and 7th, Lorenzo seemingly getting the timing of his last run wrong, and leaving the pits with not enough time to complete a flying lap. Sandwiched between Spies and Lorenzo was San Carlo Gresini's Marco Simoncelli.
Marc Marquez opened the first practice at the Sachsenring where he left off at Catalunya. The Red Bull Ajo rider topped the timesheets by a punishing eight tenths of a second, leaving the competition - thinned by the absence of Bancaja Aspar's Nico Terol, who is recovering from fractured vertebra picked up in his crash at Barcelona - a very long way behind. Pol Espargaro was closest, ahead of Tuenti Derbi teammate Efren Vazquez, while local boy Jonas Folger finished 4th.
Valentino Rossi is back, and it shows. The paddock is buzzing again, as it did at Mugello, before the Fiat Yamaha rider suffered the vicious highside that snapped his tibia and put him out of action for the last six weeks. At the pre-race press conference, Rossi's answers were nearly drowned out by the frantic clicking of camera lenses, the Italian forced to squint in the barrage of flashlights going off.
"You could tell from the crowds round his motorhome that Valentino is back in the paddock," Nicky Hayden quipped. The press was no better, crowding round Rossi after the official part of the press conference was over, standing four deep to try and interview the Italian.
Rossi was clearly happy to be back in the paddock, and thanked the doctors for doing such a great job. He had been lucky, Rossi explained: "the doctors put a pin in the tibia, and the tibia is very straight, so it is in a perfect position." This had meant that the surgery had been relatively straightforward, and the bone had been quick to heal.
The rumors that Valentino Rossi is about to forsake Yamaha and go to Ducati have been growing ever since Mugello. But over the past few weeks, those rumors have been growing ever more frantic, with official announcements of the deal being predicted at Barcelona, at Brno after the test, and here at the Sachsenring. The latest rumors gathering pace in the Italian press is that a deal is to be announced at Laguna Seca, after the race there next weekend.
That is not to be the case, according to Rossi himself. When asked during the pre-event press conference when the media and Rossi's fans could expect an announcement on his future, Rossi said that the time was not yet ripe. "I think now for me, it's too early," the Fiat Yamaha rider told the press conference. Any news would come much later in the year, he said: "I think it's possible to say what's happening for me in 2011 after the Brno race."
Valentino Rossi has cleared the first hurdle on his return to racing. Today, he was passed fit by the Sachsenring medical officer to race in Germany. The Fiat Yamaha rider will suit up for practice on Friday, to see whether the apparent fitness he showed during testing at Brno will carry over into the event here at the Sachsenring.
Here's the official press release from the Fiat Yamaha team:
Thursday 15th July 2010
ROSSI CLEARED TO RIDE IN GERMANY
Valentino Rossi has been officially cleared to ride at this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, six week's after his accident in Italy.
The Fiat Yamaha rider was examined by the Chief Medical Officer for this event, Dr. Huber Fischer, who found him fit enough to compete this weekend. Rossi will be present at the Official Press Conference at Sachsenring at 1700 CET today.
The news that everyone has been expecting for the past few days has finally been confirmed: Valentino Rossi will be coming to the Sachsenring in the hope of being able to race. Just six weeks after suffering a compound fracture of the tibia, and after an intensive program of treatment to get back into shape, Rossi feels strong enough to at least attempt to race, though his participation is still partly in doubt.
The first hurdle for Rossi to take is an examination by the Chief Medical Officer at the Sachsenring, who will determine whether he believes Rossi is strong enough to race. This may prove a bigger hurdle in Germany than at other tracks, as the doctors at the Sachsenring have been stricter with injured riders in the past than other circuits have been. But given Rossi's performance testing a Yamaha World Superbike R1, it still seems a fairly safe bet that Rossi will be permitted to at least attempt to race.
If Rossi cannot race - either because he is not allowed to or because the strain of muscling a MotoGP bike around one of the tightest tracks on the calendar proves physically too demanding, Yamaha's test rider Wataru Yoshikawa will be on hand to take over, and ride in Rossi's place, as he did in Barcelona.
Here at last is the official press release put out by the Fiat Yamaha team on Rossi's test at Brno:
Brno, Czech Republic
12th July 2010
ROSSI TESTS AGAIN IN BRNO
Valentino Rossi today completed a second day of testing, this time at Brno in the Czech Republic, in order to better understand his physical condition following the broken leg he sustained at Mugello five weeks ago. He once again rode a Yamaha YZF-R1 machine, provided by the Yamaha World Superbike Team to the Fiat Yamaha Team
Rossi completed 46 laps with a best time of 1'59.135. Following today's positive test he will now wait for a final medical check on Wednesday before making a decision about riding at Sachsenring. Wataru Yoshikawa, who stood in for Rossi at the last round in Catalunya, is travelling to Germany and has been entered as a substitute rider once again.
Yamaha awaits Valentino's final personal decision as to when he feels ready to ride again. Yamaha's priority is a full recovery to fitness for Valentino rather than a quick comeback.
After Valentino Rossi completed 26 laps of Misano on Wednesday afternoon, to test his fitness after crashing heavily and breaking a tibia at Mugello just over a month ago, the Fiat Yamaha team issued the long-awaited press release reporting the results of that test. Rossi's times were relatively encouraging: a 1'38.2 (though the Italian press is reporting it was a 1'39.3) is not too far off of competitive World Superbike pace. Cal Crutchlow's lap record at Misano - set on exactly the same Yamaha YZF-R1, though with Bridgestone tires rather than Pirellis - was 1'36.546, while the MotoGP lap record, held by Rossi himself, is 1'34.746.
What is clear from the press release is that Rossi feels he is close to the pace, but is still uncertain as to how his leg will hold up under race conditions. What is also clear is that the Italian is utterly determined to race if at all possible. Here's the press release from the Fiat Yamaha team:
VALENTINO ROSSI COMPLETES TEST AT MISANO
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi today rode a motorcycle for the first time since breaking his right leg at Mugello on 5th June. He rode a total of 26 laps at Misano on a YZF-R1 WSB machine, provided by the Yamaha World Superbike Team, and recorded a best time of 1'38.200.