It poured at the Sachsenring on Saturday afternoon. It absolutely hosed down, rivulets of water running across the track to make the conditions treacherous. Ideal conditions for Ducati, you would say, given their form so far this year in the wet, with Valentino Rossi on the podium in the downpour at Le Mans, and a 1-2 during the first session of free practice at a drenched Silverstone. But Nicky Hayden is 7th and Valentino Rossi 9th, a second or more off the pace of polesitter Casey Stoner. What went wrong?
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
FIFTH ROW FOR PASINI IN THE QUALIFYING PRACTICE OF THE GERMANY GRAND PRIX
The starting grid for the MotoGP class for the Eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland was defined today.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at the Sachsenring:
RW Racing GP on second and third row of the grid
The most smiling faces this time were on Brad Binders side of the garage. The young South African managed to set the sixth time in the final lap of the qualifying session for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.
Binder already had the tenth fastest time under his belt when he got a tow from his team mate Luis Salom. The Spaniard will start the race as ninth, from the third row.
Results and summary of a scintillating qualifying session for tomorrow's German MotoGP race:
Casey Stoner has taken his fourth pole of the year, winning a thrilling shootout with six other riders to take pole with his very last lap. Pole changed hands at least fifteen times in the last 10 minutes, and four times in the final 15 seconds, Stoner emerging as fastest on a soaking track.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at the Sachsenring:
Sandro Cortese has secured his fourth pole of the season and his second on the bounce, posting a withering lap in the final moments to take the front spot on the grid, snatching it from teammate Danny Kent. Cortese's lap was doubly impressive because of the torrential conditions it was posted in, the rain having fallen heavily since the end of Moto2 practice this morning. The German was delighted, as were the fans who braved the atrocious conditions to watch Cortese take pole for his home Grand Prix.
Pol Esparagaro's practice dominance continues, the HP Pons Kalex rider topping the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class. Espargaro was fastest both early on and later in the session, going faster as the track dried out, and holding on to the top spot as the rain once again started to fall at the end of FP3. Alex de Angelis took 2nd behind Espargaro, the NGM Forward rider transitioning well to the FTR chassis which the team switched to at Assen, while Marc Marquez ended in 3rd. Andrea Iannone set the 4th fastest time, just ahead of Bradley Smith on the Tech 3 bike.
Weather conditions at the Sachsenring on Saturday morning are the worst of all possible worlds: just enough rain to make the track damp but not properly wet. The track was not dry enough for slicks, but not wet enough to keep the temperatures down in rain tires, meaning that riders choosing to go out risked destroying a set of wet tires just to get some track time.
The tire problems experienced by Valentino Rossi and Ben Spies at Assen, where great chunks of rubber came off the right side of the rear of the tire, slowing Spies up severely and affecting Rossi so badly he was forced to pit for a new tire, have been the subject of much speculation and discussion since the event.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Sachsenring:
Dovizioso and Crutchlow battle the elements in Germany
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow conquered contrasting weather conditions at Germany's Sachsenring track today to make a positive start to round eight of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at the Sachsenring:
FAUBEL AND MONCAYO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE IN NEW TEAM COLOURS
MAPFRE Aspar Team riders resplendent in red: fourth and tenth respectively
The weather was the main factor during the second session of free practice for the Moto2 class, raining early, then drying out, then raining again very hard at the end. The mixed conditions left the timesheets in disarray, though Pol Espargaro still came out on top, despite being forced to push his bike all the way up the hill and into the pits after it broke down.
Dani Pedrosa was the fastest man in a wet FP2 session at the Sachsenring, but the Repsol Honda man nearly had Stefan Bradl steal his thunder under the darkened skies. The LCR Honda rider set a blistering pace on his final lap in the wet, beating Pedrosa's time through the first three sectors only to come up just short in the final sector, ending under a tenth behind Pedrosa. Jorge Lorenzo took 3rd spot, 0.099 behind Pedrosa, and nearly a tenth ahead of the second Repsol Honda of Casey Stoner.
Bridgestone issued the following press release about the tire problems suffered at Assen. This evening, there will be a press debrief with Bridgestone's Manager of Motorsport Tyre Development Shinji Aoki. A full report will appear after that:
Bridgestone explains findings of post-Assen tyre analysis
Friday, 6 July 2012