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.
In the last free practice, which was marked by mixed conditions of the track, Mattia Pasini refined the set-up of the ART machine, together with his crew’s help, in case the same weather had to reappear in the race. The Italian set the second best lap time, trying in any case not to take too many risks with such a tricky state of the asphalt.
The qualifying session was held on completely wet track and rain kept falling during most of the session. Pasini proved his competitiveness on top of his CRT machine, setting a few good lap times and getting the fifteenth position in the session of this afternoon.
Mattia Pasini #54 - 15th with 1'34.938
“Despite the tough start of the weekend we had yesterday, this morning we were fast on wet track. Also in the afternoon we were quite competitive, even if we had an electronic problem to sort out, which didn’t help us much in some moments of the session. Despite the crash half way through the qualifying practice, I went out again and the lap times weren’t too bad. The bike on wet track works well, after all I’m happy with how things are going. Now we can only wait and see what the weather is like tomorrow.”
Second for Spies in Thrilling Sachsenring Qualifying
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies made it count today in a rain soaked Sachsenring qualifying, taking second on the grid for tomorrow’s race. The Texan faced treacherous conditions and heavy rain throughout the qualifying session, eventually finishing less than two tenths off pole after a thrilling closing few minutes saw an incredible number of first position changes by up to six riders.
Team mate Jorge Lorenzo was also heavily in the mix for the front row and one of the riders to briefly take the top spot. Despite still experiencing some pain in his ankle from last weekend’s crash Lorenzo was characteristically smooth on the waterlogged track. As the session wound up the rain eased, dropping the times at the top. The Championship leader eventually settled for fifth position on the second row, 0.585 seconds from pole.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'31.989 Laps: 18
“It’s been strange today, we’ve struggled in the rain a lot in the past, especially at this track in the last couple of years but I had a good feeling in the wet yesterday. I was honestly a bit lost in the last ten minutes of qualifying, my lap timer quit working so I didn’t know what times I was doing and what my splits were. I just rode off of what I thought was quick and saw P1 on my board a couple of times. In the end I just gave it some stick and hoped I would get on the front row! Great work by the guys to deliver a good bike for the conditions too.”
Position : 5th Time: 1'32.381 Laps: 28
“I feel much better every day, I can manage on the bike quite well but I’m still not 100%. We can do well tomorrow whatever the conditions I think. Qualifying was difficult today, we made a mistake with the tyre and did too may laps on it at the end of the practice. Second row is not so bad so let’s see. I’d like it to be dry but of course you can’t choose the weather!”
“P5 is not of course where we want to be but overall it’s not so bad. We missed a little bit of feeling in the front end but we did a lot of laps on the rain tyre at the end so lap times were good. Tomorrow will be dry I think so today’s settings are not so useful, we are ready for both eventualities though and Jorge will be there.”
“At the end the weather was quite helpful today. We wasted the morning session but fortunately this afternoon was full wet. We managed to put together a good set up which Ben is really comfortable with and his pace is very fast. He still has something in his pocket to give so tomorrow should be good. Jorge did a good long run and we think he’s ready for the race. Let’s see what the weather brings us for tomorrow. The warm up will be important if it is dry.”
Crutchlow close to front row at rain-soaked Sachsenring
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow showed outstanding wet weather riding skills this afternoon to mount a brilliant challenge for pole position at a rain-soaked Sachsenring track in Germany.
The tight and twisty Sachsenring was hit by monsoon conditions throughout today's qualifying session but Crutchlow excelled on his YZR-M1 machine to battle for a fourth front row start in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.
Crutchlow skilfully calculated where he could push hard in t reacherous conditions and the British rider delivered a faultless performance to finish in fourth position.
The former World Supersport Champion's best lap of 1.33.288 momentarily put him on top of the timesheets in a pulsating finale and a front row start to add to those achieved in Qatar, Estoril and Catalunya seemed on the cards.
A late attack by Casey Stoner, Ben Spies and Dani Pedrosa though put Crutchlow on the second row but once again he was the leading non-factory rider and the 26-year-old carries high hopes of securing a maiden podium in tomorrow's 30-lap race.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso is a past master of adverse weather conditions and he demonstrated his wet weather potential by lapping inside the top three in the opening half of the session. But he was unable to improve on his best pace of 1.33.205 and he will start from eighth position on the grid.
A third row start is not ideal on a layout as tight and twisty as Sachsenring but Dovizioso is confident he has the speed to put himself in contention for a third rostrum finish in four races.
Cal Crutchlow 4th 1.32.288 – 22 laps:
“That was a really tough session because the rain was coming down really hard at times and it was easy to get caught out and make a mistake. Considering how bad the conditions were I am really happy to be so close to the front row. I was very close to being on the front row again but to head the second row is a good result and I am looking forward to the race. I've shown good pace in the wet and dry all weekend but the problem is we haven't had enough track time in each t o get a good set-up with the bike. We improved in the rain today and my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew put another great bike underneath me. If the rain is the same tomorrow it will be a very tricky race and a real test of concentration. It won't be any easier in the dry either considering the lack of dry track time. I'll be giving it my best as always and hopefully I'll be battling inside the top five again."
Andrea Dovizioso 8th 1.33.205 – 21 laps:
“I am little bit upset to be starting from the third row because this track is very tight and it is very hard to overtake on. Obviously it is better to be starting much closer to the front and I didn't manage it, so I will need to be quite aggressive from the start tomorrow to make sure I don't lose too much ground to the leading group. I can't be too disappointed though and we improved the ra in set-up of the bike a lot today and I think my potential for the race is a lot higher than eighth. If the rain is as bad in the race as this afternoon then it will be a very tough race. The track was very slippery but I had a good feeling with the YZR-M1 and I'm sure we have prepared the best we can for a wet or a dry race.”
Stoner and Pedrosa shine in wet and crazy qualifying session
The Sachsenring circuit today played host to a very exciting and tricky qualifying session, where once again the Repsol Honda Team have finished at the top.
In a full wet session that saw four different polemen within the last 15 seconds, Casey Stoner took the best lap time with 1'31.796 to claim his fourth pole of the season and Dani Pedrosa finishing third with 1'32.081, securing a very important front row spot for tomorrow's race.
CASEY STONER 1st 1'31.796
"It was actually a very difficult session. We started off well and then we switched to our number one bike with a completely different set up and that felt a lot better. On the first lap, I matched my best time I did on my second bike, then unfortunately on the second lap the engine gave up. We're not too sure what happened, if it was something electrical or if some water got in there, but we'll find out later. This put us on the back foot a little because as soon as we came back and got the tyres ready on the second bike, it started to rain hard again so we knew we wouldn't be able to get a better lap time in those conditions. We decided to wait for later in the session as we knew we wouldn't have much hope unless the conditions improved a little, and luckily they did. It ended up being a really good day for us and we'll see what we're capable of tomorrow".
DANI PEDROSA 3rd 1'32.081
"I'm very happy with this qualifying session. It was difficult, especially at the beginning as it was raining very hard and we had so much water on the asphalt, it was difficult to stop the bike spinning and aquaplaning. It was crucial to be ready at the end when the rain stopped because everybody was improving their lap times and in one lap you could be first or sixth. I'm very happy because in the past in these kind of sessions we didn't get a good result. But this time, I was more confident every lap and we made it; I thought I got the pole in my last flying lap, but anyway to be at the front is key in Sachsenring. Yesterday we also had a good feeling in the dry, and it looks like we will have a dry race tomorrow, so it will be importa nt to make the right choice on tyres and try the hard compound in the warm up to compare with the soft we tried on Friday".
BARBERA CRASHES BUT RECOVERS DURING DIFFICULT QUALIFYING SESSION
Sole Pramac Racing rider Hèctor Barberà fought hard today to achieve the 12th place in qualifying and a 4th row start for tomorrow’s eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
The Premier Class riders were one again unlucky with the weather during both the final free practice and the qualifying sessions.
Having also struggled with the mixed weather conditions yesterday, Hèctor, who had led the timesheet for part of the heat, finished the damp morning session in fifth place and posted a best lap time of 1’33.302.
In the afternoon, the qualifying session took place with a heavy rain that soaked the 3.671 km German track. During qualifying, Hèctor crashed out on the slippery surface while he was braking into turn twelve, escaping relatively unscathed but a little bit sore.
After the crash, the Spaniard was able to complete the session, trying to reacquaint with the track, even if he wrapped up the day losing some important grid positions for tomorrow’s race.
Despite that, the Green Energy Team rider is confident that his race pace will be good enough to challenge for another brilliant result tomorrow, during the 30-lap race scheduled at 13:00 local time.
Hèctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider – 12th place in 1’34.542
“It was a difficult day, especially due to the tricky weather conditions. From the morning’s session, we had rain and during the qualifying session I had to grit my teeth after the crash. I was braking on entry to turn 12 but, unfortunately, I lost the front, crashing at one of the fastest points of this track.
I was able to regain the confidence both with my Ducati and with the wet surface, even if I found some riders on my line during the last minutes of the qualifying session and I struggled to set a fast lap time to start tomorrow’s round from a better grid position”.
Francesco Guidotti – Pramac Racing Team Manager –
“I have to congratulate Hèctor because after the crash, he re-joined the session with strong determination.
We could have achieved a better grid position, but the important point was that we found a good setup in the wet. Now we will hope for a dry warm up to be sure to have a great setup also with this track condition.
In summary, it was a hard but positive session for our team.”
ESPARGARÓ LINES UP AS TOP CRT IN GERMANY
Spaniard to start from tenth, three places ahead of his French team-mate De Puniet
There was no let-up in the weather for the MotoGP class today as the miserable northern European summer continued to shed its tears over Sachsenring. Heavy afternoon rain refused to subside until the final moments of qualifying practice, making for an unusual session that saw the riders spend the first half an hour working on their wet setting before taking a short break and then launching a furious battle for grid positions that was only decided on the final lap. Crutchlow, Pedrosa, Spies and Stoner all took their turn at the top of the time sheets as the chequered flag was prepared, the Australian timing his run to perfection to secure pole position.
The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team will head for their beds in optimistic mood tonight after a positive display from both riders in the torrential conditions. Aleix Espargaró will line up as the top CRT after qualifying in a season-best tenth place thanks to a pair of sensational late laps that saw him outpace no fewer than three factory MotoGP prototypes. Randy De Puniet also set a furious pace throughout the session and the Frenchman was only denied the opportunity to fight with his team-mate for top CRT honours by a gearbox problem in the final moments. Randy was 14th fastest but will start from 13th, with Alvaro Bautista to be relegated to the back of the grid according to a penalty incurred at the last race.
10th Aleix Espargaró 1.33.900 (24 laps): "I am really happy because even though I don't really like riding in the wet we have managed an excellent result today. We have had to get used to rain conditions this season and today we were able to use that experience, which is probably even more pleasing than being the top CRT. We found a good setting for the electronics and I was able to push really hard over the last two laps. The bike had a lot of grip in the uphill sections and was hardly losing any power so that was a big help. Obviously I would prefer a dry race tomorrow but it is good to know that we are prepared for the rain too. We are well placed on the grid with only a two-second gap to pole so we're ready to fight for a good result."
14th Randy De Puniet 1.34.651 (23 laps): "I had a really good feeling throughout the session and spent most of it around tenth place. After 35 minutes we took a break and waiting until the closing stages to mount another attack and after changing to fresh tyres my feeling and lap times improved to the end, which was the most positive thing about the session. I had a problem with the gearbox in the final minutes though and that cost us valuable time and the opportunity to set one last flying lap, which is a shame because I think we still had around a second in us. Anyway I am happy because our potential is high in any conditions."
Third row for Ducati Team in German GP qualifying
Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow, having taken the seventh and ninth spots, respectively, in a rainy qualifying session at the Sachsenring.
The American was on provisional pole approximately five minutes from the end of the session, but he was blocked by traffic in the exciting final laps and couldn’t manage to improve his time along with the others.
Valentino Rossi was very fast in the first and last splits, but he wasn’t able to be as effective in the middle sections. Nonetheless, in case of a wet race tomorrow, he’s confident he’ll also manage to perfect his setup in those sectors.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:32.795)
“It was damp this morning, and in order to save some rain tyres, we didn’t do a lot of laps, although the bike felt really good. Then at the start of qualifying, the track was really wet, with standing water and streams running across. It was difficult, and at one point we decided to come in and wait. We’re struggling for edge grip in the long corners, although traction seems really good when the bike is picked up. Things felt much better toward the end, and I was on pole with about five minutes to go, only to get held up on the last two laps. I know traffic is a common excuse, but it was real today, and I certainly would have been up a couple more spots on the grid. I’m really frustrated to be starting on the third row, but we’ll give it our best in the race tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:33.217)
“We were expecting more from a rainy session because normally we’re really quite fast in the wet, but unfortunately we made a small mistake on the setup with the back end of the bike. With so much water on the track, this made it somewhat difficult in T2 and T3. Unfortunately, losing some tenths in that area put me on the third row, despite being fast in the first and last sectors. On the plus side, the data make it clear where we made the mistake, and if there’s a wet race, fixing those details should make us more competitive. If the race should be dry, I hope that the warm-up will be as well, because over the entire weekend we’ve only had 45 minutes of dry time.”
BRADL PLEASED WITH THE SIXTH PLACE AHEAD TOMORROW’S HOME GP
Sachsenring, 7th July: the MotoGP was once again unlucky with the weather today at Sachsenring race track as they were greeted by rain in the morning free session and the same tricky conditions affected the 60-minute frenetic qualifying session with Stefan Bradl lining up on second row ahead tomorrow’s 30-lap race.
LCR Honda local favourite Stefan Bradl had led the majority of the session showing his increasing confidence aboard the Honda RC213V at the 3.671Km circuit putting in a great showing for his home crowd in sixth (1’32.510).
Stefan: “We did not expect to have a wet qualifying today but at the end it rained a lot and our pace has been consistently fast since the beginning. We have been doing a good job for the whole session and this is a positive sign for me and the Team. With the little adjustments that we made I could quickly adapt to the conditions lapping with a good pace. At the end of the session the surface started to dry up and everybody pushed hard but I got stopped by some slower riders in my last lap. I am bit disappointed because we could take the front row but in any case it was a very positive session for us and we can be happy about the result”.
RAIN AGAIN AT SACHSENRING
The German weather forecasters could have just relied on a photocopy of yesterday's reading at Sachsenring this afternoon as another afternoon downpour ruined any hopes of dry track time for the MotoGP teams and riders. Alvaro Bautista already knew he would be starting from the back of the grid before this afternoon's session, as a penalty for his part in the first corner accident at Assen a week ago, so his only focus was to find a good wet setting for tomorrow's race in case of similar conditions. Michele Pirro escaped unhurt from his first big crash of the season although he struggled to rediscover his confidence when he returned to the track, having set the fastest time in mixed conditions during this morning's final free practice.
Alvaro Bautista ( 11th 1’ 34” 088 ) “There was no point trying to set a fast lap this afternoon so we just focused on our wet set-up. The track conditions were really tricky, especially in the middle two sectors, and I didn't have a good feeling with the bike. Hopefully we get a dry warm-up in the morning so that we can prepare for the race. If it's wet we'll have to try something to improve my confidence with the bike. I'll start from the back of the grid so I'll just have to stay calm at the start and try to recover positions throughout the race to finish as high as we can. Right now it is impossible to make any predictions.”
Michele Pirro (17th 1’ 35” 595) “The rain ruined our plans today and I crashed after just three laps. I just hit a part of the track where there was a lot of standing water, the bike aquaplaned and I lost control so it was a heavy crash. I went back out but I struggled to get my pace together again so that is disappointing and I am sorry for the guys in the team because without the crash I am sure we could have done much better. We'll try to make up for it tomorrow and if it doesn't rain we'll have a much better chance.”
Fausto Gresini “Another rain affected session although that mattered little to Alvaro because his grid position was already decided by the sanction so he just focused on finding a good setting for the conditions. It was a shame for Michele because the crash was a setback in terms of his programme but also because he lost feeling and confidence. It was his first big crash this season but I am still confident for tomorrow because he and the bike have been making great progress in recent weeks.”
Stoner fastest in soaked Sachsenring qualifying
Round 8: German Grand Prix – Qualifying Practice
Sachsenring, Saturday 7 July 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet. Ambient 19-19°C; Track 20-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner will start on pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix after the reigning champion was quickest in a thrilling qualifying session in which seven riders battled for the top spot all the way until the end of the session.
Stoner set his time of 1:31.796 right at the conclusion of the rain-soaked session to finish 0.193 seconds ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies who will start second on the grid, while Dani Pedrosa ensured both Repsol Honda’s will start on the front row by clocking the third quickest time. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT qualifier and will start tomorrow’s race on the fourth row in tenth position.
Both of today’s sessions were run in wet and cool conditions, with the light rain for FP3 intensifying into steady showers that soaked the circuit for qualifying, resulting in standing water appearing on sections of the track and creating a very challenging setting for the riders. As the track started to dry towards the end of qualifying conditions improved and the extra traction available from the tarmac saw lap times drop resulting in an exhilarating last minute battle for pole position
The riders will be back on track at 0930 tomorrow for the morning warm up session with the race set to commence at 1300 local time (GMT +2).
Shinji Aoki – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s FP3 and qualifying practice both took place in wet weather, but the riding conditions between both sessions were different due to the intensity of the rainfall that occurred. FP3 saw light rain so there was only a small amount of standing water, but in qualifying the heavier rainfall saw parts of the track quite waterlogged and so rider’s experienced marked differences in grip levels during the day.
“The tarmac at Sachsenring is quite abrasive, but the rate of wear on the soft wet tyres - which are the main wet tyre allocated for this race - during today’s sessions was normal. However, teams do have the option to select the hard compound wet tyre for the race if they feel it better suits their setup. The forecast for tomorrow indicates rain is a strong possibility and with the top seven qualifiers all showing similar pace in the wet, it will be interesting to see if we have a closely contested race, something which the Sachsenring is renowned for.”
Best qualifying result of the season for Colin Edwards
The Germany GP is this season’s eighth round of the championship and will have for the first time Colin Edwards and the team NGM Mobile Forward Racing on the fourth row of the starting grid. A very important result obtained in wet conditions that has given great hope to the team.
The team and Colin have worked hard to solve most of the problems posed by the electronics of the bike even in the rain and now the Suter- BMW is ready to race no matter what the weather conditions are.
Colin Edwards – 12th (1´34.649)
“It feels good to be the second CRT on the grid. It was bad yesterday and this morning but thanks to my guys, they came up with a program (electronics) that I could understand and trust and start to go faster and faster. We still have a long way to go. The rain is nothing but chassis setting, if you don’t have the electronics to make it work your chassis becomes hard to control and right now the whole package is working pretty good. Weather we race in the rain or dry we are going to be fighting to be the top CRT bike, we have a good dry setting and a good wet setting. Apart from Qatar, this is the most confident I have ever gone into a race this year.”
Sergio Verbena - Crew Chief
“Finally we have gathered enough data in wet conditions and have been able to find a good solution. We made a good modification on the setting and we continue working on the electronics, that up to now in wet conditions, we had not been able to get. Today we have made the 12th position for tomorrow’s race and we are the second CRT, for which we are very happy. Yesterday we managed to get a got setting in dry conditions and today we managed the same in wet, which makes us feel confident for tomorrow’s race. Colin has done a great job and we hope that tomorrow we will be able to take full advantage of the results obtained during this weekend’s sessions. “
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner /CEO
“I would like to thank 2D and Bosch for their hard work during this weekend and to Colin for his dedication. I am convinced that together we can continue to make good results such as the one from today and be among the first CRTs.”