2011 Sachsenring MotoGP Saturday Press Release Round Up

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at the Sachsenring:


Stoner under lap record to set pole in Germany

Round 9: German GP – Qualifying

Sachsenring Circuit, Saturday 16 July 2011

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard

After a very close qualifying session for the German Grand Prix in which the provisional front row was separated by just hundredths of a second for most of the hour of track time, it was Casey Stoner with a final charge who leapt 0.2seconds clear of the field to set his sixth pole position of the season and his 27th on Bridgestone tyres.

Stoner was the only man to dip below the existing lap record, set by Dani Pedrosa last year, and did so twice: once on a harder rear tyre and again using a softer rear right at the end of the session. His fastest time came using the harder front slick tyre too, which was used by all riders as the track temperature reached a weekend-high of 46 degrees Celsius.

If conditions remain the same, which current forecasts suggest they will, based on today's rider preferences race tyre choice tomorrow is likely to be the harder front and harder rear options.

Behind Stoner just 0.02seconds separates Dani Pedrosa in second, Jorge Lorenzo in third and Marco Simoncelli in fourth. Around the 3.6km Sachsenring circuit, the top twelve riders are within one second, suggesting a close race. Tomorrow's 30-lap race gets underway at 1400hrs local time.

Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division

"In general the temperature has been much higher today and the track condition has been better so we have not seen the front grip issues experienced yesterday morning. In fact, during qualifying every rider favoured our harder front option because of its increased stability and wear resistance given the track temperature. I am pleased to see that Casey could set a time under the lap record using both the harder and softer rear slicks, both of which are softer this year compared to last season here, as this shows that both are working well and the performance of our revised rear tyre selection is good. Casey also completed nearly race distance on the harder slicks and durability and consistency were good as he was still able to lap fast at the end with no complaints at the start of the run. The forecast is that it will be hotter tomorrow, so managing the tyre temperature especially for the rear will be very important during the race."


THIRD ROW FOR DE PUNIET, FIFTH ROW FOR GUINTOLI

The starting grid for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring was determined in this afternoon's qualifying session. Randy De Puniet registered the ninth-best time (1:22.503), just behind Nicky Hayden, the only Ducati rider to finish the session ahead of the Frenchman, who will start from the fifth row tomorrow. Sylvain Guintoli, who prior to this morning had only ridden Capirossi's Desmosedici here in yesterday's afternoon session, ended qualifying in eighteenth place with a time of 1:24.707.

Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet Track Engineer

"Today went rather well. This morning Randy was complaining about the rear, so this afternoon we tried two different solutions. One was pretty effective, and we'll use it again tomorrow. If the temperature is similar to today's, I think we'll start with the hard tyres, which give our rider more consistency and stability. In the Warm-Up, we'll do a little experiment with the front and see what happens, but we're more likely to not change much on the bike's setup, considering the good results we've had these two days."

Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Rider – 9th best time in 1:22.503

"I'm pretty pleased with the work carried out over these two days, and as I said yesterday, it's been a long time since I last left the garage happy. At the moment, everything is going according to our plans. I'm able to go fast with both the hard and soft tyres. We'll try some things tomorrow morning, specifically with the front. I'm pleased with my ninth place, which a good start going into the race."

Sylvain Guintoli - Pilota Pramac Racing Team – 17th best time in 1:24.707

"We're a little far from the other riders, but anyway my feeling with the bike has improved compared to this morning. My tyres were ruined when I came back to the garage, and that could present a problem for the race. I did my best, and tomorrow I'll have to try to have a good race."


Bautista shows good race pace in qualifying

Publish Date: Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista showed a strong race pace throughout this afternoon's qualifying session at Sachsenring to leave him in an optimistic mood for tomorrow's race.

Bautista (P10, 1'22.604) will start from the front of the fourth row after qualifying less than a second from pole position, but it was his consistency throughout the session which gives the whole team a positive outlook for Sunday. Bautista was never outside the top-10 for the whole session and was regularly in the leading pack as he made his final adjustments for tomorrow's race. He was also the busiest rider on-track as he used the time available to its full extent to complete 36 laps of the 3,671m German circuit.

The sun shone all day at Sachsenring and temperatures improved from yesterday's chilly sessions, enabling Bautista to make a better evaluation of the performance of the Bridgestone race tyres. World Championship leader Casey Stoner took pole position, his sixth of the season.

Tomorrow's 30-lap race signals the halfway point of the season, with Bautista looking to make a good start and battle for his best result of the year so far when the lights go out to signal the beginning of the event at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Álvaro Bautista:

"I am not happy with the position because I think we should be higher up than that. I started with a hard rear tyre in qualifying and right from the beginning I followed some other riders but couldn't quite get in a rhythm. After a few laps some riders went to the box, but I stayed out on my own and I started to make a good race pace. With a tyre that had done 20-laps I did a 22.7 so that is a good sign for the race and I feel very positive. When I used my first soft tyre I made a mistake and ran off the track and lost some of the grip from the rubber, so couldn't really get the lap-time I wanted. With my second soft tyre I had a lot of riders in front of me and I just couldn't make a good, clean lap - so I am not happy about that. My rhythm is certainly better than the position and I will need to make a good start tomorrow – like Mugello – because at this track it is very important to have a good first lap as it is difficult to overtake."

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

"The whole team – Álvaro included – is disappointed with 10th place on the grid, because it doesn't reflect our potential for tomorrow. Álvaro's qualifying lap on new soft tyres was only one-tenth quicker than what he achieved after 20-laps on the hard tyres. His race pace – if he can get away with the fast guys – looks good enough to challenge for the top-six tomorrow, so we must try to aim for that. The plan for tomorrow has to be to get the Rizla Suzuki off the line as well as Álvaro did in Mugello and push hard for our best dry result of the year so far."


Lorenzo Secures Front Row for Sachsenring Grand Prix

Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo fought hard today to secure himself third place in qualifying and a front row start for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Germany. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider was the fastest man on track in the morning's final free practice, setting an impressive 1'22.112 to top the time sheets. The afternoon qualifying heat saw him again quick onto the pace, again fastest man on track mid way through the session. Unfortunately he was not able to take any great advantage from the softer tyre compounds available and had dropped out of the top four until the last moments. As the final minutes ticked down he broke under the 1'22 mark to beat Marco Simoncelli for the final spot on the front row by just 0.010 seconds.

Ben Spies was on much better form than yesterday, a good night's sleep had shaken off most of his head cold and the Texan was keen to attack the track. The crew made some major set up changes midway through both the morning practice and afternoon qualifying to help deliver an optimum bike package for the twisty Sachsenring circuit. Clear improvements were evident, Spies climbing from seventh in the morning with a 1'22.772 to fifth on the grid in qualifying with 1'22.056, just 0.375 from pole.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 3rd Time: 1'21.944 Laps: 33

"It's been a strong weekend so far. I've never felt great on this track but this weekend I'm riding fast and feeling comfortable. It was a pity at the end of qualifying that the soft tyre didn't improve anything so much. In the end I couldn't make pole position but I think third position on the front row is a good place to start tomorrow for the race; I got it by just 0.010! Casey is very strong but I hope to be ready to fight for the victory with him. I think the fans will see a great race as there are a lot of riders who can fight for the win."

Ben Spies

Position : 5th Time: 1'22.056 Laps: 31

"Today was definitely better. I'm still not 100% but I'm feeling a lot more clear headed on the bike. We were able to make the bike a bit better and I was able to ride better today to get into the top five. I made a mistake on my last lap, totally my fault, two corners to go I lost the rear, then saved it but then lost the front as well which cost me a tenth. It might have made us a little closer to the front but we're still in the middle of the second row so we can put a good race together tomorrow."

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

"We're very happy with a front row position, that's very important on this track, especially the first part which is very tight so we need a good start. The race pace is very good with the hard tyres, the soft one didn't bring out so much so we don't have to bother with that as I think we will all be using the same tyres tomorrow."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"It was a good qualifying session; the gap to the front is almost nothing. I think we solved most of the problems we had this afternoon with Ben, he is quite satisfied so I think tomorrow he can do a really good race. Jorge had a really good pace and I think tomorrow he can fight for the win."


Karel Abraham will start from the fifth row after he crashed twice in the qualifying

The Grand Prix of Germany continued today by the third free practice and qualifying practice in which Karel Abraham crashed twice and finished 13th with the best time of 1:23,164. He will start from the fifth row on the grid tomorrow.

"I am disappointed because I know that I could start at least from the fourth row," said Karel Abraham who finished 1,483 seconds behind the fastest rider Casey Stoner.

The Cardion AB Motoracing rider struggled throughout both sessions with a lack of the grip which caused his falls in the morning and afternoon.

"Unfortunately, we still have the same problem. We tried to change the set-up of the motorcycle by several different ways, but it caused only unnecessary crashes," continued Abraham. "It's a shame because we lost a lot of time."

Karel Abraham, who completed 19 full laps in the qualifying practice, set his fastest time in the third of them and added: "Tomorrow we will try to make some other changes on the set-up and then we will see."


Edwards battles to super seventh in Sachsenring

Colin Edwards called on all his experience and skill to qualify his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine in seventh place on the grid for tomorrow's 30-lap German MotoGP race at the Sachsenring.

Despite not being in peak physical condition after being struck down by a severe sore throat overnight, the American finished only 0.211s away from a second row start at a sun-drenched Sachsenring.

After yesterday's practice sessions were run in cool and windy conditions, today's weather was ideal with air temperatures hitting a pleasant 25 degrees this afternoon, allowing Edwards to focus on making major improvements to the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.

Edwards, who was uninjured in a small front-end crash at the first corner in this morning's final free practice session, made significant progress with increasing front-end confidence around the tight and twisty Sachsenring circuit. And his hard work was rewarded with a brilliant final lap of 1.22.368 to finish top non-factory rider in a closely contested session that saw the top 12 riders divided by less than one second.

British team-mate Cal Crutchlow looked like joining Edwards inside the top 10. He improved his front-end feeling to break into the 1.22 bracket for the first time this weekend with just under 20 minutes remaining.

The 25-year-old had climbed into seventh place with a lap of 1.22.676, but as he pushed hard in the closing stages to secure yet another top 10 qualifying result, he crashed heavily at the fast Turn 8 left-hander. Crutchlow was able to walkaway unhurt from the high-speed accident but he fell to 12th on the timesheets, finishing just over 0.2s away from eighth placed Nicky Hayden.

Colin Edwards 1.22.368 – 30 laps:

"Honestly, I have no idea where I pulled that last lap from. I didn't feel like I had a low 1.22 lap in me at all today but I just tried to push as hard as I could and stay as smooth as I could on that final lap and to get seventh is a great result for me and my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Today hasn't been easy because I woke up this morning with a really bad sore throat. It feels like I'm chewing gravel but I've lost my voice and can hardly talk, so communication with the crew wasn't that easy. But we've got such a great understanding that even though they could barely hear what I was saying, my team gave me a good bike for the end of the session. I've never got on with this track and today we've made so many changes to the bike that we're a million miles away from our normal setting. I'd say we haven't done big changes like this to the bike in about a year. I haven't been able to get the bike turned but we kept plugging away and found something this afternoon that was better. This track is so tight and twisty you need a good turning bike, so I'm confident we can have a strong race."

Cal Crutchlow 1.22.676 0 26 laps:

"I am not too happy with today because we had a big crash at the end of the session. I thought we made a good improvement in the qualifying session and we made it into the 22s with an old race tyre and I was happy. I came in to put a new soft tyre on and with the extra grip we just pushed the front too much. We don't really know why at the moment, but we will have a look at the data to see if we can make some improvement for the race. It is the same issue that I have been complainin g about at the last two or three races, so we have to start considering making some drastic changes. We will keep working and the aim will be to get in the top 10 for tomorrow and I am determined to bring the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team a good result."


Repsol Honda 1-2 in Germany Qualifying

Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will start the Grand Prix of Germany from first and second on the grid with team mate Andrea Dovizioso in sixth.

Casey has been playing catch up since his accident yesterday in FP1 and tested several configurations on both his RC212V's before finding a set up he was comfortable with. Once he found it, the Australian recorded some impressive lap times and was the first rider to drop below 1'22 and on a hard used tyre. His pole position lap of 1'21.682 was two tenths faster than Dani Pedrosa's Circuit Record Lap set in 2010.

Dani took advantage of the Sachsenring circuit with its many left hand corners, which are easier on his shoulder than circuits dominated with right hand corners. The Repsol Honda rider who returned to racing in Mugello two weeks ago, after missing the three previous races, will be hoping he can put his injury fatigue to one side and score a strong result at a circuit he's always enjoyed.

Andrea is confident with his race pace and has found a set up he is happy with for the thirty lap race tomorrow. He will start from sixth and is a mere two tenths from Dani Pedrosa, which shows how close the riders are here with only a second separating the top twelve.

CASEY STONER – 1st 1'21.681

"After the crash on Friday my confidence was dented a little and we struggled to get enough data, so we've been playing catch up all day today. This morning we made a few small steps forward but not really enough, the guys in front of us were just consistently that little bit faster and we were finding it hard to match their pace. We completed a lot of laps on one tyre this morning, in fact over race distance on a tyre I did one of my fastest laps on so this was certainly positive. Then this afternoon we kept trying different directions on both bikes and every step we made on each bike, we took big steps forward so we're pretty happy with the set up we have now. The lap times are very close here so it will be a tough race and hard to take any real advantage. However, I'm very happy and positive we can still slightly improve tomorrow morning so thanks to all my team for a great job".

DANI PEDROSA – 2nd 1'21.933

"It's great to be on the front row again, to be honest I didn't expect it. But we've done a good job and it's important to start in front here because the first corner is very tight and it's better to avoid being immersed in the group at the start. For the race, we still need to improve the bike a little, so we will work on that with the mechanics this evening. It would be nice to have a little more traction. I think we will need to pay attention to Yamaha at the end of the race because the riding is smoother and they can save the tyres better. As for my condition, right now the races are physically hard for me, but it's also true that with more left hand corners in this circuit I don't suffer as in Mugello and I can concentrate on my riding. More than pain, I feel weak from lack of training, but we will give our maximum hoping to get a good result".

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 6th 1'22.157

"I'm confident for tomorrow as we have good pace but it will be a hard race as there are five or six of us very close to each other. Starting from the second row it will be important to have a good start and keep a constant rhythm without stressing the tyres too much as they get very hot here. In the first laps the right side of the tyre is difficult to get temperature into whilst the left side is stressed a lot so managing the tyres will be a crucial point for the race. We will work on the set up to fine tune the settings and I'm positive to fight for a good result tomorrow".


ELIAS TAKES A STEP FORWARD AT GERMAN GP QUALIFYING

Sachsenring, 16 July: second sunny day of practices for the MotoGP riders at the technical and tight German track which host the ninth round of the calendar. The 60-minute qualifying session saw Stoner obtaining his sixth pole aboard the RCV ahead of Pedrosa and Lorenzo but this afternoon practice was a positive outing even for LCR Honda MotoGP racer Toni Elias who set the 14th lap time on q-tyres (1'23.201).

After yesterday's awful crashes the Spaniard was eager to increase his pace at the twisty track so he tried to adjust the front feeling and the handling of his machinery ahead the qualifying session. Elias completed 30 laps feeling more comfortable and will try to do some small adjustments during the warm up to improve the setting ahead tomorrow's 30-lap race.

Elias: "I feel quite satisfied because this is our best qualification this year so far. Of course we are not totally happy because we have got the potential to improve and to qualify in the top ten but this is a good step forward. It seems we have a clear idea about the race tyres and probably we could develop this base set up in the future to increase my pace. I am hoping to lap in the 1.22 range and my crew is doing a very good job to fine tune the bike. I always take good starts and will try hard to do the same tomorrow even if the distance between the straight and the first corner is very short. I aim to be in the top ten after the first turn".


SECOND ROW FOR SIMONCELLI AT SACHSENRING

After a run of six conseuctive front row starts that has included two pole positions Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli had to settle for fourth place in this afternoon's qualifying practice at the German Grand Prix and a second row start. "Super Sic" was edged off the front row by just 0.010 seconds and as such is confident that he can run with the leaders in tomorrow's race. The Italian emerged relatively unscathed from a high speed crash this morning, when he suffered a blow to his right elbow. Hiroshi Aoyama is looking to tomorrow's warm-up as he continues to search for more confidence and feeling with his bike.

Marco Simoncelli (4th 1' 21" 954) "I am little bit disappointed today because we managed to solve our problems this morning but then took a step backwards in the afternoon. In any case I am confident because our race pace is up there with the top three and I think I can have a good race. The main problem today was that I lost my confidence with the front so I was struggling under braking and in the corners."

Hiroshi Aoyama (15th 1' 23" 248) "We tried to improve the set-up of the bike but we didn't make any major progress, especially in the final stages of qualifying. Tomorrow we will try and find some solutions that will give us more pace in the race and allow us to make up some positions. Obviously I am still struggling from the Assen injuries so with this being a long race here at Sachsenring I hope it's not too painful."

Fausto Gresini "We have worked hard and had a good day. It is a shame we missed the front row and maybe with one more lap on track we could have done it. The competition is very high and to lose a position by 0.010 second is something that can easily happen. Anyway, the second row is not so bad. Tomorrow we will work on the set-up to try and improve it under braking but overall we are pretty much ready and Marco has good race pace. Hiroshi is still struggling for feeling with the bike so hopefully he can improve."


HÉCTOR BARBERÁ TO START GERMAN GP WITH HIGH HOPES

MAPFRE Aspar rider finishes qualifying in eleventh, less than a second off pole and with a good race pace for tomorrow's contest

All signs appear to point to the German MotoGP race being a thriller on Sunday. Further hints were dropped in qualifying as to just how close the racing could be, with Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Simoncelli and perhaps Spies and Dovizioso showing the required pace to challenge for victory. Lorenzo and Simoncelli dominated the early part of the session, but the final ten minutes saw Stoner and Pedrosa snatch front row spots and show that they are not to be ruled out of any fight for the win. The top sixteen riders were all separated by just 1.6 seconds, so expect battles every step of the way once the lights go out on Sunday.

MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá is raring for 2pm local time to come around on Sunday, with the hope of a strong result at the Sachsenring. Two weeks ago at Mugello he had one of his best MotoGP races to date, and is keen to repeat or better that showing tomorrow. The 2010 German GP was one of his better performances of his rookie season, and he looks to be in good shape one year on. The Spaniard qualified eleventh but less than a second off pole position. Had it not been for traffic on the racing line, he may even have been even closer to the front row. Barberá will be highly motivated to round off a positive weekend with a meritable finish.

11th Héctor Barberá 1.22.676 (31 laps): "I am riding as fast as the best Ducati -I'm only three tenths off. I think that we have worked really well this weekend and should be on a par with the official Ducatis tomorrow. Maybe we will even be ahead of them. I will start from eleventh, but I think that this doesn't fully reflect the form that we have this weekend. I can easily get into the top ten if I get a good start. I prefer not to think about results though, and concentrate on enjoying the race as much as I did at Mugello. I could have qualified further up the order, but I had Hayden on me and my lap was interrupted. He made a movement that indicated that he was going to ease off and move away from the racing line, but then he came back on and cut me off. It's a shame, because I would have liked to have been higher up on the grid, but I am relaxed because I know what kind of pace we have for tomorrow."


THIRD ROW AND GOOD PACE FOR HAYDEN, DIFFICULT QUALIFYING FOR ROSSI

The qualifying session for the German Grand Prix went very differently for Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. The American posted the eighth-best time, four tenths from the first row, after lapping all weekend at a pace that was very close to that of the top riders. The Italian wasn't able to find a setup that gave him a good feeling, and tomorrow he'll face an uphill race, starting from the sixteenth spot on the grid.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th (1:22.388)

"I had hoped to be on the second row here, because I've been in the top six all weekend until this afternoon, and we know qualifying is so important at this track. Yesterday I had better grip when the track was cooler in the morning, and it was the same thing again today. When the track temperature comes up in the afternoon, I begin pushing the front. I'm not really happy with my lap time or my position. This morning I did 1:22.5 on a used soft tyre from yesterday, and I only managed a little better in qualifying. The team has done a good job because they found me some extra rear grip, which is so important around here, but then we just can't find that front grip that we really need. There's no doubt that it will be tough, but we'll try to do something tomorrow when it counts."

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 16th (1:23.320)

"Today we obviously had some big problems, or rather we haven't managed to find a good compromise between the improved traction and acceleration that we've achieved with this bike, and front-end confidence, which is still missing. I'm not able to load the front and make it work like I can with the GP12 engine in the same chassis, which is why we've been so slow and are so far back. Naturally, we're very disappointed, but we really can't say that we haven't tested because here we had four sessions with normal weather, and we tried many things. We're thinking about a solution for the coming races in order to resume the positive improving trend that we were on until Barcelona."


2011

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Comments

It seems I cannot indulge in a little tongue 'n' cheek schadenfreude. So I shall keep this one a little drier and hope the Sachsenring does the same tomorrow. Sounds like the top four + Dovi fancy their chances, allied to a secondary group close on times there is the hope of some decent racing.

Heh, conventions are important. At first glance Karel Abraham's time being within 1483 seconds of Stoner is seriously unimpressive. That's over 24 minutes, after all. Then when the brain kicks in and reminds me that the Eu convention is that a comma marks a decimal point his time seems a lot more conpetitive...

Top 12 within a second bodes well for the race, but it's not as close as it might seem - second shortest track on the calendar will naturally make the times a bit closer. Bring on the race!