Result and race summary for the 125cc German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
After two nights and one day of rain, varying between the torrential and the merely steady, the sun is almost out here at the Sachsenring. Despite the weather, the crowds are swelling, leaving a trail of thick red Saxon mud everywhere they go. The weather forecast is good, for the 125s and 250s at least, but showers are predicted for later in the afternoon. By the look of the radar predictions, the rain could arrive just in time for the start of the MotoGP race.
Valentino Rossi might not be so unhappy if that were to happen, as the Fiat Yamaha man was well off the pace during morning warm up, and not looking particularly happy. The opposite is true for Dani Pedrosa, as the diminutive Spaniard was very fast this morning, but less happy in yesterday's pouring rain. Casey Stoner is happy either way, as he is more worried about his endurance than the track conditions.
Results for the MotoGP warm up session:
Results of the 250cc warm up session:
The 125 riders started the warm up on a wet track, but it dried out quickly, leaving a dry line. Results of warm up:
Qualifying at the Sachsenring was a thoroughly wet affair. The track had been soaked all afternoon and rain continuing to fall throughout the session, coming and going in intensity. And so everyone set about finding a wet setup, given the entirely plausible prospect of rain spoiling the race tomorrow. Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi swapped the lead in the early part of the session, the times edging towards the 1'34 marker, but with just 19 minutes of the session gone, Gresini's Alex de Angelis confirmed his strong form at the German track by taking the top spot.
De Angelis soon had another Honda take the lead from him, Randy de Puniet taking provisional pole, but only for the briefest possible time. De Angelis was following de Puniet round the track, and was straight back on pole.
A couple of minutes later, Casey Stoner got involved once again, and after briefly ceding pole to Jorge Lorenzo, the Australian cracked into the 1'33s, taking provisional pole with a lap of 1'33.759. His time would stand until the halfway mark, when Lorenzo started showing an interest once again, the Spaniard putting in a string of fast laps. At first, Lorenzo merely chipped away at the Australian's time, but within a couple of laps Lorenzo was faster, then taking a big chunk out of Stoner with a lap of 1'33.355.
With a quarter of the session left, a couple of remarkable things started to happen. The first was that Valentino Rossi took over pole from his team mate, slicing 5/100ths off Lorenzo's time. The second was that the rain was starting to make the track treacherous, and riders were starting to tumble like flies.
Results and summary of 250cc qualifying practice:
Jorge Martinez, boss of the Aspar team, has made no secret of the fact that he wants to add a MotoGP team to his 125cc and 250cc teams. For years now, he has lobbied the manufacturers to provide him with the bikes that would allow him to realize that dream, and at last, he looks close to sealing a deal.
According to the Spanish sports paper Marca, Aspar is within days of securing a deal which will see the team enter MotoGP for the 2010 season. As ever, Martinez remains cagey about which manufacturer will be supplying the bikes, but he estimated his chances as being 80% Ducati, 20% Honda.
The most obvious path for the Aspar team would be to take over the bike left vacant by the departure of Sete Gibernau's GFH team, but that presents Martinez with two problems: The first is that Aspar is keen to field two bikes, which would allow them to gain as much data as possible, a crucual ingredient for success, as they will have a lot to learn in their debut in the premier class.
The second is similarly intractable. Martinez is keen to take his brilliant young Spanish protege Alvaro Bautista into the MotoGP class, but Bautista has previously expressed a reluctance to ride the Ducati, and more importantly, the Spaniard wants a guarantee of a factory ride, which is generally regarded as the key to success. That would make Suzuki his only option for the 2010 season, as Suzuki are the only factory to have an exemption from the so-called rookie rule, which prevents newcomers from going straight to factory teams.
But Aspar may be able to offer Bautista an escape clause. According to Marca, Ducati boss Livio Suppo is keen to sign the young Spaniard, and is offering a move to the factory Ducati squad in 2011, after a year in the Aspar satellite team.
Martinez is expecting to finalize his plans this week, and hopes to make a final announcement at the British Grand Prix at Donington next week.
Results and summary for the MotoGP qualifying practice session:
Results and summary of the 125cc qualifying practice session at the Sachsenring:
The rain poured down on the 125cc class during qualifying, making conditions difficult for everyone and adding a few surprise names to the top of the timesheets. The man on pole for tomorrow's 125cc race should be no surprise to anyone. Julian Simon was the fastest for much of the session, sealing his fourth pole of the season. Simon leads his team mate Bradley Smith and the Spanish KTM rider Marc Marquez. The final name on the front row of the grid is a big surprise, German wildcard Marcos Schrotter making the most of local knowledge and wet conditions.
British rider Danny Webb had a tough day, only managing to qualify in 17th spot and crashing heavily in the final minutes of practice. He walked away from the crash, but was clearly in pain.
Karel Abraham was the surprise leader at the end of the second session of free practice for the 250cc class. But the Czech rider's position was largely a result of good timing, Abraham getting out and putting in a fast lap just before the rain came. The rain was so heavy that it left the timesheets largely unchanged, though Marco Simoncelli put in a good string of laps in the wet to climb up to 3rd. The wet weather practice will be very useful to the field, as the rain is expected to continue during qualifying this afternoon.
Results of the 250cc FP2 session:
The first batch of images are in from Scott Jones, here at the Sachsenring, and once again, they are real gems. There'll be plenty more to come over the next few days.
Jorge Lorenzo led the field during the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring, crushing the opposition by dipping under the 1'22 barrier, and finishing nearly 4/10ths ahead of Casey Stoner. The Fiat Yamaha rider had struggled yesterday, but was clearly a good deal more comfortable on the second day of practice.
Behind Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa took the 3rd time, ahead of Stoner's Ducati team mate Nicky Hayden in 4th and Valentino Rossi in 5th, while a surprising Marco Melandri was 6th fastest in the session. Hayden's performance is a clear sign of progress, with the American leading the session at one point, and continually featuring in the top echelons. Melandri was similarly impressive, taking full advantage of the fact that horsepower is less of a factor at the tight Sachsenring circuit.
The field is once again very close. Lorenzo's gap to 2nd place man Stoner is the only large gap in the top 6, with less than 0.2 seconds separating Stoner in 2nd from Melandri in 6th. Even more impressive is the fact that the top 11 riders all the way down to Colin Edwards are inside Dani Pedrosa's race lap record from 2007.
Results of the MotoGP FP2 session:
Julian Simon topped another damp session of practice for the 125cc session, the track drying out towards the end, allowing Simon to get ahead of his Bancaja Aspar team mates Sergio Gadea and Bradley Smith.
Results of the 125cc FP2 session: