2016 Sachsenring Moto3 FP3 Result: Late Charge For Bastianini

Saturday morning seemed to have a similar script to Friday – minus the rain. Andrea Locatelli was an early leader before letting Brad Binder set a string of fast laps at the top. But the South African had to concede first place to yesterday’s leader Enea Bastianini in the final minutes of the session.

After a rather worrying performance on the first day of practice, rookie Aron Canet gained some confidence in the warmer temperatures to climb up the timesheets into third position. Romano Fenati joined him in fourth after a pretty minor early crash.

2016 Sachsenring Friday Round Up: Turn 11 Again, Replacing the Sachsenring, and Marc vs Maverick

It was a wasted day at the Sachsenring. The day started cold but with a dry track, then, ten minutes into MotoGP FP1, a fine mist of rain started to fall, making already tricky conditions positively terrifying. A few journalists walked through the Sachsenring paddock up towards the end of pit lane, where the fences give you great views of Turn 1 and Turn 11.

Just as we arrived, Scott Redding's battered Pramac Ducati returned to the paddock in the back of a recovery trailer. When we turned around to watch the bikes coming through Turn 11 again, Jorge Lorenzo slid through the gravel towards us, his foot caught up in his bike for a while. While we were watching Lorenzo hit the gravel, we heard another bike scrape across asphalt and into the gravel. It was Stefan Bradl's Aprilia, the German having lost the front at Turn 11, just as Lorenzo had.

The rain continued, never really heavy enough to soak the track properly, only lifting towards the end. A few riders went out on wet tires to check their repaired bikes, coming straight back in again. The morning session was lost to the weather conditions. The afternoon session was a little better – at least it was dry – but the track temperatures meant that the tires never really got to the operating range they were designed for.

2016 Sachsenring Moto2 FP2 Result: Nakagami Does The Double

The first thing to greet the intermediate class riders as they hit the track was the red and white flag signalling the presence of one of Sachsenring’s most frequent guests: rain. The riders made the pilgrimage back to the pits soon after, as spectators wrapped up in rain capes.

Halfway through the session, Johann Zarco once again took the initiative, slowly prompting his fellow riders to join the track-drying fun. After holding an early lead, the Frenchman dropped to fourth as morning leader Nakagami made the jump from sixteenth to second and then to first in the final five minutes.

2016 Sachsenring MotoGP FP2 Result: Viñales Bins It To Win It

The rain that pulled the curtains on the Moto3 session stopped before it was the turn of the MotoGP machines to hit the track. They didn’t do it in a hurry, Bradley Smith being the opening act on a damp track, quickly followed by Valentino Rossi.

As the surface dried, Maverick Viñales was the first rider to drop under the morning’s best time, promptly beaten to it by Marc Marquez, the two Spaniards continuing to exchange times at the top until the mid-session stop into the pits. After resuming action, the Suzuki rider was another one to perform the pitlane “jog of shame” after crashing in the troublemaking turn eleven.

2016 Sachsenring Moto3 FP2 Result: Bastianini Pips Fenati

The Sky team was on fire in the early part of the afternoon session, Romano Fenati stepping it up once again and grabbing the top position by eight tenths of a second in front of Nicolo Bulega. The last minutes of the session poured some water on that fire, Fenati crashing and collecting Adam Norrodin, while Enea Bastianini was sneaking into the top position.

As the checkered flag dropped, so did the rain. Fenati stayed second, followed by Bulega and Gabriel Rodrigo, with Brad Binder progressing up to fifth place after struggling a little early on. While Antonelli wrapped things up early following a fast crash at turn seven, his teammate Jules Danilo impressed in sixth position.

2016 Sachsenring Moto2 FP1 Result: Tricky Conditions Favour Nakagami

Still battling the drizzle that turned the MotoGP session into a 10-minute sprint, the Moto2 riders took it easy for the first half of FP1. Dominique Aegerter tested the waters (quite literally) with a slick tyre as the lights turned green for the morning session, leaving the track feeling quite lonely until Raffin, Marini and Pons polished their wet weather skills.

The final half hour saw Zarco bravely out on slicks again, his times encouraging some more action, including a rodeo-style wiggle from the Frenchman himself. He didn’t tumble but times did as riders gained confidence and track conditions improved. Once things settled, the usual suspects took over at the top, a first position certifying Takaaki Nakagami as one of them for yet another weekend.

2016 Sachsenring MotoGP FP1 Result: Iannone Beats The Rain

A dry but drizzly start to the session quickly turned into a drizzly and dull thirty-minute pitstop. Andrea Iannone, Marc Marquez and Danilo Petrucci were early leaders before the rain stole the spotlight from all the talk about Michelin’s asymmetric front tyre.

Before the action was paused, Scott Redding turned out to be the first victim of turn 11, in the first six minutes of the session, getting a chance to practice the trademark Marquez run down the pitlane. That later proved to be one of the highlights of an action-strapped session.

2016 Sachsenring Moto3 FP1 Result: Fenati Leads Binder

Riding in weather that seemed to be preparing us for winter holiday instead, the Moto3 grid was admirably tame, with only a handful of minor crashes as rain threatened to show up but didn’t really do so.

Romano Fenati and Enea Bastianini switched positions at the top for much of the session, the Sky rider grabbing the lead before the mid-session recess. Once action was resumed, the Italian armada made a comeback, taking over the top 6, eventually separated by Binder, Martin and Bendsneyder.

2016 Sachsenring MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Asymmetric Tires, Terrifying Turn 11, and Aprilia Upgrades

There are good times to talk to MotoGP riders and there are bad times. Among the bad times are when sessions of other classes are on, or when other major sporting events intervene. Valentino Rossi's press debrief on Saturday afternoon is one example. When it clashes with the start of the Red Bull Rookies Cup race, Rossi can be distracted as he watches the opening laps on TV screens in the Yamaha hospitality. Though Rossi is the consummate professional, always giving relevant answers to the questions we put to him, sometimes we have to wait, as fourteen Red Bull Rookies all try to fit into a corner where only three will go.

On Thursday, the press debriefs of the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders were up against the last twenty minutes of the Tour de France stage which finished near the top of the Mont Ventoux. (Not actually at the summit: strong winds meant the finish was moved 6km from the top.) Cycling is something which MotoGP riders tend to become passionate about, as they do it so much to maintain fitness. And the finish to this particular stage became so intense that both Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro remained glued to the screen, as did most of the journos who had come to talk to them, including myself. We talked a lot with the Tech 3 boys, but none of it was about MotoGP.

Well, not quite none. As I prepared to rush from Tech 3's hospitality through the tunnel under the track to a press conference I was already late for, I quickly asked about the asymmetric front tires Michelin have brought to the Sachsenring. "We'll see tomorrow," was Bradley Smith's answer, followed by a comment that he was more happy that the French tire manufacturer has brought the extra soft front rain tire, as the soft had still proved too hard at Assen.

2016 Sachsenring MotoGP Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix:


Repsol Honda Team look forward to season’s halfway mark at Sachsenring

The ninth round of the MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for this weekend at the Sachsenring circuit, marks the midway point in the 2016 season, with Marc Marquez leading the Championship classification and teammate Dani Pedrosa lying in fourth place.

Johann Zarco Joins Monster Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP Team For 2017

The long-awaited news of Johann Zarco's MotoGP contract has been announced. The Frenchman is to join Jonas Folger in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for 2017. Zarco's contract is for one year, with the team holding an option on the Frenchman for a second year. 

2016 Sachsenring MotoGP Preview - Can the Hondas Make it 7 Years in a Row?

If there is such a thing as a Honda track, then the Sachsenring is surely it. Of the nineteen premier class races held at the tight, tortuous circuit, Honda have won twelve. That includes the last six races in a row: From 2010 through 2012, nobody could touch Dani Pedrosa around the circuit. From 2013 onwards, Marc Márquez has been unbeatable at the track.

What makes the Sachsenring such a Honda track? Maybe it's the two key braking points at the circuit, going into Turn 1, and at the bottom of the hill for Turn 12. Maybe it's the ability to use the Honda horsepower going up the hill out of the final corner, across the line and into Turn 1. Or maybe it's the tight corners, the Honda always a strong bike in turning.

The Sachsenring circuit is invariably described in disparaging terms – "Mickey Mouse", "a go-kart track" – but that does not do the track justice. It may not challenge the bikes in terms of horsepower, but it demands an awful lot of the riders. From the moment they arrive at the end of the short, uphill front straight, brake hard for the sharp right-hander of Turn 1, and pitch it into the corner, the bike barely leaves the edge of the tire until the plunge down the Waterfall after Turn 11. There is a brief moment of respite between Turns 7 and 8, before heeling the bike over again for another series of lefts going up the hill to the circuit's crowning glory.

2016 Laguna Seca WorldSBK Review: Looking Back at Laguna, Forward to 2017

The WorldSBK season goes on its annual summer break with the championship suddenly poised on a much finer edge than was imaginable just a week ago.

Jonathan Rea's dominance of the current campaign has been almost unparalleled. However, his run of 17 consecutive podium finishes to open the season is now over and suddenly he faces a threat from within for his title defense.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Marquez’s greatest escape

Marc Marquez’s Houdini-like escape during Assen practice was one of the greatest saves in MotoGP history

Over the past three decades I’ve seen many amazing riders do many amazing things. All kinds of moments jump out, from before Kevin Schwantz to after Casey Stoner – way too many to go into now, but here are three.

It’s September 1985, the season-ending San Marino GP at Misano, way before anyone had even dreamed of traction control. Randy Mamola is chasing Ron Haslam during practice, both of them aboard Honda’s superbly rider-friendly NS500 triple. The American is accelerating out of a left-hander when his rear tyre smears sideways and then grips. Suddenly the bike isn’t so rider-friendly and flicks him skywards like an ejector seat. When Mamola re-enters orbit his head just about thumps the front mudguard and both his legs land to the right of the bike as he runs off the track. He is now skating through the grass with both feet, his hands hanging onto the handlebars for dear life, while he waits for the bike to slow, because he knows he will crash if he tries to use the front brake.

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