July 11th, 2015
Results and summary of Moto3 qualifying:
Franco Morbidelli put in a late push to lead the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class at the Sachsenring. The Italian smashed the existing lap record by three tenths of a second, to push Johann Zarco into 2nd place, despite the fact that he was quicker than the Jordi Torres' record from 2013 as well. Tito Rabat hung in for 3rd place, finishing ahead of Xavier Simeon and Simone Corsi. Sam Lowes, who had been fastest on Friday morning, suffered a small crash and ended down in 13th, just under eight tenths off the pace of Morbidelli.
Marc Marquez has topped the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class, dropping the pace as the weather has picked up. The last ten minutes turned frantic, as riders chased times for a slot in Q2, with a few people quick on Friday falling victim on Saturday morning.
Marquez was fast throughout the session, slashing his time in the last few minutes. The Repsol Honda rider finished ahead of the two Movistar Yamahas, Jorge Lorenzo just over a tenth slower than Marquez, Valentino Rossi pushing out a fast lap to be five hundredths behind his teammate. Andrea Dovizioso picked up the pace to grab 4th, but the factory Ducati rider was nearly half a second slower than Marquez.
Bradley Smith finished an impressive 5th, and could have been closer if he hadn't had a moment at the bottom of the waterfall and lost a couple of tenths. Dani Pedrosa was fast on race pace, but less so once the pace hotted up, but still ended 6th ahead of the Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro. Cal Crutchlow took 8th slot, despite a minor crash at the Omega corner in the second half of practice, from which he escaped uninjured. Andrea Iannone was the only rider not to improve his time on Saturday morning, his second Ducati sporting a larger set of winglets. Pol Espargaro was the final man in the top 10, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider securing his place in Q2 early.
Danny Kent continues his demoralizing of the Moto3 opposition, the Englishman once again lapping the 3.671 kilometer circuit over six tenths faster than his rivals. Fabio Quartararo was once again the closest man to Kent, the French youngster taking 2nd ahead of Kent's Leopard Racing teammate Efren Vazquez. Alexis Masbou was 4th by the very slimmest of possible margins, just a thousandth of a second off Vazquez, and ahead of John McPhee, who is having a very positive weekend.
2015 Sachsenring MotoGP Friday Round Up: Marquez Gets His Magic Back, Redding Learns That Relaxing Helps You Go Faster
It is a dangerous thing to write a rider off. We learned that with Valentino Rossi, the old man currently leading the championship after two terrible years at Ducati, one tough year at Yamaha and then the first sign of resurgence from the middle of 2014. Rossi adapted, learned, progressed, and came back stronger. After the first seven races of 2015, the wolf pack in the media center had written off Marc Márquez and HRC. The Honda RC213V was too aggressive an engine to be tamed by electronics, the chassis too stiff to contain the stampede of horsepower contained in the 90° V4. The bike span, wheelied, and worst of all, slid the rear wheel unpredictably when it touched down ready for braking into the corner. Márquez was trying, but perhaps a little too hard, riding every lap as if it was his one shot at pole, overloading the front tire to compensate for the lack of braking at the rear. Márquez was pushing his luck, and it kept running out during the race, the Repsol Honda man either finishing down the order, or ending up in the gravel once the front cried enough.
Márquez crashed out at Barcelona, but that crash did not tell the whole story. Márquez and his crew had made a step forward that allowed him to control the rear under braking a little better, taking the sharpest edge off the area where the Spaniard was suffering most. At Assen, they made another step forward, and for the first time this year, Márquez started to enjoy riding the bike again. He knew he could be competitive, making his disappointment at being beaten – and outsmarted – by Valentino Rossi all the greater. "The first target was to try to feel again that confidence with the bike," Márquez said after practice on Friday. "In Assen I did and I felt it well. Now the second target is win a race."
Two races ago, a bet against Márquez winning would have been a safe one to take. After two sessions of free practice at the Sachsenring, Márquez has once again assumed the mantle of favorite for victory. He was fastest in the morning with a consistent pace, but was downright intimidating in FP2. The gap may have been reduced from a third of a second to just a single tenth over the man in second place, but nobody has the pace of Márquez. The Repsol Honda rider hammered out nine laps of 1'21, more than all the other riders on the grid put together. His nearest rival in terms of consistency is his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, and Pedrosa could only string together three 1'21s.
"Honestly, I’m happy because it was a long time ago that I feel like this on the Friday," Márquez said. "In Assen I had that feeling with the bike but only in qualifying and on the race, but today from the beginning I feel good and this is important." The feeling was the same at Assen, the knowledge that he had better control over the bike. "I’m able to stop better the bike and I’m able to be more constant. The bike is less critical on the front. Then I’m able to be more constant in some laps. If I do some mistakes I can keep the line and this is important."
Mika Kalio saved his best for last to set the top time in the waning moments of the second free practice Friday at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany. Dominique Aegerter used late tow to grab second, just two-hundredths of a second behind Kalio's 1'25.069. Jonas Folger, who led much of the session, was dropped into third by Kallio's and Aegerter's late charges. Sandro Cortese held on for fourth while Sam Lowes -- fastest in the first free practice and still fastest in combined times -- took fifth.
FP2 was run in two segments after a red flag forced the riders to pit briefly. Rider Azlan Shah (15th) crashed hard late in the session and his bike came to a stop in the middle of the track. After the bike was cleared, the final six minutes of practice resumed.
Marc Marquez has shown that the improvements made at Assen are working here at the Sachsenring, the Repsol Honda rider topping the timesheet in the second session of practice as well as the first. The two Repsol Hondas led for most of the session, but as the riders put in soft tires to chase a quick lap ahead of qualifying, Dani Pedrosa slipped down the standings, going from 2nd to 5th. Bradley Smith made clever use of Andrea Iannone's slipstream, the former Moto2 rivals catapulting themselves into 2nd and 3rd place respectively, and ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. The top five were close, though, less than a quarter of a second separating Marquez in 1st from Pedrosa in 5th.
Aleix Espargaro put the Suzuki into 6th fastest, just under half a second behind Marquez, and ahead of Valentino Rossi, who ended the day in 7th. Scott Redding held on to the improvement he found this morning, bagging a provisional slot in Q2 by taking 8th spot, and finishing ahead of Yonny Hernandez on the Pramac Ducati and Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati.
Danny Kent kept control of the Moto3 class at the Sachsenring, once again dominating the second session of free practice. The championship leader was once again over two thirds of a second faster than the rest, this time Niccolo Antonelli leading the chasing group. Alexis Masbou found a burst of speed to take 3rd behind Antonelli, while local hero Philipp Oettl grabbed 4th. Enea Bastianini had a difficult practice, crashing out and ending the session down in 13th.
Sam Lowes has topped the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class. The Englishman has a new Speed Up chassis at the Sachsenring, and immediately put it to good effect, constantly being at or near the top of the timesheets. A final push took him ahead of Johann Zarco and back to top spot. Takaaki Nakagami also sneaked ahead of Zarco, the Japanese rider having a good weekend so far in Germany. Zarco took 3rd, just a tenth behind Lowes, and a couple of hundredths behind Tito Rabat, the reigning Moto2 champion finishing 4th despite having had surgery to plate his broken collarbone earlier this week.
Marc Marquez has carried the momentum gained at Assen over to the Sachsenring, topping the timesheets in the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class, and getting under the race lap record already. Marquez took top spot with the soft front tire, then took the asymmetric out at the end of the session and improved his time even further.
Valentino Rossi took second spot in FP2. The Movistar Yamaha rider had kept Marquez honest in the first part of the session, only losing ground as Marquez upped the pace at the end of practice. Scott Redding put in a strong performance on Friday morning, shooting up to 3rd in the session towards the end, as he followed Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa round. Redding has struggled early in practice so far this year, and putting in a fast time early on will take some of the pressure off him, and boost his confidence.
Danny Kent's reign of terror continues in Moto3, once again leading the rest of the Moto3 field by nearly two thirds of a second. The Leopard Racing rider was fast from the start, and seized control a third of the way into the session, never to relinquish it again. Fabio Quartararo grabbed second spot, finishing ahead of Kent's main rival in the championship Enea Bastianini. Bastianini's best lap was nearly nine tenths off the pace of Kent.
After a couple of strong races which saw him start to gain ground on Kent, Miguel Oliveira has suffered a severe setback. The Red Bull KTM rider injured a metacarpal bone in his left hand, and was forced to pull out of the rest of the event. Oliveira has flown home for surgery to fix the bone.