Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
Fantastic pole for Marquez but despair for Pedrosa after giant high side crash
It's been another day of mixed fortunes for the Repsol Honda Team at the GP of Germany. Rookie Marc Marquez took his third pole position of the season and his third successive pole here at Sachsenring, but unfortunately his teammate Dani Pedrosa suffered a huge crash in this morning's FP3 session and didn't take part in qualifying.
Dani, was on the first flying lap of his second exit when he had a huge high side crash in turn one with the bike tossing him into the air. He landed heavily on his left shoulder and also hit his head very hard. He was taken to the medical centre and later flew to Chemnitz Hospital for a CAT scan and additional checks. It has now been confirmed that he didn't suffer and concussion but there is a small fracture in his left clavicle (collar bone). The circuit medical staff have declared him fit to race, subject to a further medical check tomorrow morning at 08h20. If he is able to race, his time from FP1 would be used placing him in 12th position.
Marc Marquez 1st 1'21.311
"I'm very happy with this pole position. It's important to start from the front row at this circuit, since it's quite difficult to overtake! I felt very comfortable, especially after the pace I had in FP4. In qualifying I struggled a little to get the most out of the bike, but things went better on our second exit. I think we have done a great job and we will try to do our best, have a good race and fight for the podium, and with a little luck for the victory. After I saw Dani's crash this morning I was definitely a little more cautious going through turn one. I really hope he recovers quickly and can race tomorrow. It will be a difficult race, because Valentino will be fighting also Stefan and Cal, if he's okay physically, will be up there as well"
Dani Pedrosa 12th 1'22.221 (FP1)
"It was definitely a scary moment and I'm still not totally sure what happened. I hit my head hard and immediately felt a lot of pain in my shoulder and I checked to see if I could feel anything. Thankfully in the medical centre they saw it wasn't broken but maybe a small fracture, and I was also feeling very dizzy but never lost consciousness. Just to be safe, we flew to Chemnitz Hospital for a CAT scan and then returned to Clinica Mobile at the circuit. They confirmed I had a small fracture in my left collar bone but I am thankful it wasn't a complete break. Now I will rest tonight and see how I feel in the morning. If I feel strong enough I will have the medical check to clear me for the race"
Rossi Returns to the Front Row
Sachsenring (Germany), 13th July 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi made a welcome return to the front row of the grid in third position today in qualifying for Sunday’s Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The quick fire 15minute session proved to be the best qualifying performance by the Italian nine-time Champion since Le Mans over two years ago, his last appearance on the front row.
Rossi wrapped up the fourth free practice prior to qualifying as the fastest rider with the second fastest lap of the weekend so far, a 1’21.978 lap. He then carried that speed straight through to qualifying, slotting straight into third position on his second lap with a 1’22.44. He stepped up the pace immediately and slotted into the top spot only to be knocked down to second a few seconds later by Cal Crutchlow. With seven minutes remaining Rossi made a pit stop for fresh rubber and returned to the track. Another flying lap saw him secure third and a front row start with a 1’21.493, just 0.182 seconds from pole.
3rd / 1'21.493 / 10 laps
“I’m very happy, from one side not a lot because the first position was very close but the target was to come back to the front row and I was able to. I was able to do it in a good way because I did a good lap riding well and also my gap to pole position is very close which is very important. I feel good with the bike, I have a good setting and I have quite a good pace also. Now we have to put everything together for tomorrow and try to slide the rear a bit less. I am a bit worried about the second part of the race; that will be very hard for everybody. If we want to stay with Marc we have to make a small improvement for tomorrow. Anyway, I am so happy, the last front row for me was in 2010 in Le Mans, a long, long time ago. Tomorrow it will be a strange feeling to have nobody in front!
For Jorge it is a great pity because he made a small mistake and unfortunately landed on the wrong shoulder. After what he did in Assen he was very close to a superhero. It’s a pity also for his championship but now I think he’s made the right choice to take some quiet time to recover. For him the Championship will be hard but still not impossible before the end.”
“Today was an important first row for Vale, we know he is capable of starting from the front so it’s good to see him do this. I think his speed and pace is pretty good which gives us confidence for tomorrow. It’s not going to be an easy race, it’s going to be long and really tough but I think we are ready for it. Fortunately Jorge’s surgery went really well which is another important point from today. We miss having him here challenging for victory this weekend but he has made the right choice to recover as fully as possible. We wish him all the best and we wait for him to return even stronger than before.”
Crutchlow bounces back to claim stunning front row in Germany
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow showed tremendous mental and physical resilience today to secure a stunning place on the front row of the grid for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
Battered and bruised after two high-speed crashes in practice yesterday, the British rider demonstrated his phenomenal fighting spirit to claim second position in this afternoon’s qualifying session at the tight and twisty Sachsenring.
The 27-year-old is nursing numerous cuts, bruises and friction burns after a physically punishing start to the eighth round of the 2013 World Championship campaign.
Far from being in peak physical shape today, Crutchlow managed to brush off the aches and pains to this morning to finish sixth overall in practice. With his confidence and feeling on Yamaha's YZR-M1 restored in advance of the 15-minute qualifying session, Crutchlow put up another terrific fight for pole position.
He led the session with a 1.21.640 and a brilliant late burst of speed saw him improve his pace to a 1.21.434. That put him only 0.123s behind Marc Marquez, who denied Crutchlow a second successive premier class pole position.
Crutchlow certainly won’t be back to 100% fitness in time for tomorrow’s 30-lap race but his pace throughout a difficult weekend means he is optimistic he can mount a serious challenge for a fourth podium of the season.
Bradley Smith enjoyed another positive and productive day and he managed to improve his pace by almost 0.5s in the decisive qualifying session.
A best lap of 1.22.758 secured him a top 10 finish in practice and in full time attack mode in qualifying he was able to drop his pace down to a 1.22.297 that secured him seventh position on the grid.
Smith was just over 0.9s off pole position and a second successive start from inside the top six only eluded the 22-year-old by 0.140s. Smith’s main objective in tomorrow’s race will be a fast start, with the tight and twisty Sachsenring track hard to overtake on as the British rider goes in search of a sixth straight top six finish in his impressive rookie MotoGP season.
Cal Crutchlow 2nd – 1.21.434 – 10 laps:
“I am really pleased to be back on the front row after all the drama of yesterday. They were two really big crashes in practice and my body took a bit of beating to be honest. The first crash was completely my fault because I made a mistake on the brakes but the second was because the front tyre was cold. It was definitely my worst day of the season, so to put all that behind me and get a front row when I am not close to my physical best is a great achievement. When I woke up this morning I didn’t feel that great because my body took a big impact in a few places. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to ride and just to be out there is great. It is going to be a very difficult race in my condition but I will be giving it my all to get another podium. Today was a great result for my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. I gave them plenty of work to do yesterday but they did a great job and as always I am grateful for their efforts.”
Bradley Smith 7th 1.22.297 – 10 laps:
“Seventh position is a great result and to do a 1.22.2 was a bit of surprise. We still need to work a bit more on my confidence and understand the Bridgestone tyres a bit better. They work really well at this track and it is a case of understanding how much you can push them. For the race tomorrow the start will be so important. The track is so tight and twisty that the first three laps will be vital to achieving a good result. Hopefully we can improve the bike but I feel for the full race distance we are in a good position and I am happy with the set-up. I just need to make sure we can put in a consistent pace because it will be a very long race.”
BRADL TO START FROM THE 4th SPOT ON THE GRID AT HIS HOME GP
Sachsenring, 13 July: Stefan Bradl was thrilled to lead the way in front of his home crowd yesterday and the local fans enjoyed the 4th place (1’21.862) achieved today by the 23-year-old in the afternoon qualifying session. Bradl has led the majority of the QP2 session showing his increasing confidence but a small crash affected his final performance on soft tyres.
“We have done a good job in FP4 and our consistency is very good. Actually we have just missed one maximum fast lap in the qualifying but I am still very pleased with my fourth place on the grid. Unfortunately I had a little crash on the first tyre because I hit a little bump on the asphalt but I was able to start the bike again going back to the garage. After that I jumped on bike two, pushing more than 100% but I could not set the perfect lap time to qualify in the front row. I really wanted a front row start at my home race but we are quite happy anyway because we are doing a good job. It’s difficult to set any target because the race is very long (30 laps) but I strongly want to perform well for my home crowd”.
Rows two and three for Ducati Team at German GP
For the second day in a row, track action at the Sachsenring was marred by a number of frightening crashes, but Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso managed to make it through unscathed to qualify in sixth and ninth place, respectively.
The morning free-practice session was interrupted by rain, affecting the teams’ planned work programs, but after it was confirmed that injured Jorge Lorenzo would not return to action, both Ducati Team riders advanced directly to Q2. The weather was better in the afternoon, but grip was still scarce in some parts of the track. Hayden managed to qualify on the second row, while Dovizioso will start from row three.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 6th (1:22.157)
“With the rain-interrupted session this morning, we didn’t get a chance to try a couple little things we had planned to. This afternoon we made a few things better, but some other areas were a bit worse. The guys here are working really hard, and the bike is okay in some places, but in the downhill corners, it’s impossible to put enough load on the front to get feedback and make the bike turn. We got on the second row, although the fact that a couple guys were missing makes that look better than it really is. We’re .8 off pole, which is too much at a little track, but we’ll have a good think tonight and try to do something in the morning. It’ll be a long race, but we’ll do our best to have a good result.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:22.561)
“Honestly, I expected this position, as our pace is eight tenths of a second off. I lowered my times from yesterday, but the others were also able to improve. I’m a bit disappointed with my qualifying time because I made a mistake in turn eight, where I went off-line and lost a couple tenths. I was ready to fight for sixth place with Nicky; it’s a shame because at this track, the grid position is pretty important, so it’ll be essential to get a good start. The race will be long tomorrow—30 laps—and I think if we grit our teeth, it could be possible to fight for fifth or sixth place. There are five of us on a similar pace. Unfortunately, it’s a long way from the top guys, but we’ll do everything possible to get a good result.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ’S DRIVING SPIRIT CONTINUES
A fifth place grid spot for the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider is his best result of the year and his best in MotoGP; whilst Randy De Puniet starts 13th, looking to improve his front end grip
Crashes have been the story of the weekend so far for MotoGP at the Sachsenring, the tight and technical German circuit with so much emphasis on the left side of the tyre. The track has already claimed two victims this GP, with Lorenzo ruled out yesterday due to an additional injury to his damaged collarbone and Pedrosa injured on Saturday with a huge free practice highside taking him out of qualifying. The Catalan rider has suffered a small left collarbone fracture and is a doubt for Sunday’s race. Briton Crutchlow suffered two heavy Friday crashes but still qualified second today, with Marquez on pole and Rossi back on the front row after a three year absence.
So much has been said about Aleix Espargaró’s challenge to the prototype riders on his CRT machine this year, but he surpassed himself on Saturday. He was second in Saturday morning free practice, just 0.2s off the best time. Going stright into Q2 he then achieved the fifth best qualifying time, 0.5s off pole, improving again on his best MotoGP grid position. He is looking forward to a great race on Sunday. In contrast Randy De Puniet is having front end chattering issues and has searched in vain for a solution to those problems. He qualified 13th and will continue striving to improve on Sunday.
5th Aleix Espargaró 1.21.887: “Qualifying fifth is amazing but what is even better is how close I was to pole! In the morning I was second fastest and just 0.5s off P1, so we knew we were working well. This track helps us as the differences in engine power are levelled out a bit and we are closer to the prototypes. I’m excited about the race and I think I can get a good result. If it’s cold we could have an advantage as our rear tyre could perform better than what the prototypes have. So I’m hoping it’s chilly and we can be even more competitive. Either way I’ll give it everything I’ve got and see if I can match my grid position in the race. Our set-up is almost perfect, thanks to the good work of the team.”
13th Randy De Puniet 1.23.152: “We worked hard to try and fix the front end grip problems yesterday but we haven’t made any progress today, so it’s been tough. I pushed hard in Q1 but the front end chatter meant I was not comfortable on the bike. We trie dan alternative tyre but I didn’t help. It’s been frustrating so far as the front end problems are really not giving me a good feeling. Anyway, we’ll keep working hard to improve and the most important day of the weekend is still yet to come.”
Shoulder dislocation for Andrea Iannone
Day two at the Sachsenring was a challenging one for Andrea Iannone. A few minutes after the start of FP4, the Italian went long in turn 1, losing the control of his bike and crashing. Upon returning to the garage, he has immediately brought to the Clinica Mobile, where Dr. Costa and his staff promptly intervened and diagnosed a dislocated right shoulder. Both the X-ray and the scan gave negative results for fractures, but at the moment, Iannone’s recovery time is unknown.
It was an unexpected end to the day for Iannone and his T.I. Energy Pramac Racing Team, as the weekend had begun positively, and the modifications made to the bike were immediately achieving positive results, making the chances of a good grid position seem promising.
The work in the garage proceeds while the team awaits tomorrow’s final decision.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“I'm sorry for how it went because I felt good and we were doing a good job with the team. It might be the first weekend when every change we made has led to a small step forward that I could immediately notice. The bike has consistently responded pretty well, so I was happy. I started FP4 while I was trying a little change. I was having a good lap, even though I wasn’t really pushing too hard, and although the tyre already had 14 laps on it, I was close to my best time. Then I fell, and I'm really disappointed; I thought I could do a good race tomorrow because we’ve focused a lot on the pace, also during the test at Misano. We were getting interesting results, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish the work we’d planned. I'll try to be there tomorrow, but I don’t want to compromise the work we’ve done and that we still have to do. I want to thank the team and all the Clinica Mobile because they’re always helping me during these difficult moments.”
DISAPPOINTING QUALIFYING FOR TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI
The second day of the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring was one to forget for Alvaro Bautista, who made slight progress with the set-up of his bike but made a mistake in qualifying that cost him positions on the starting grid for tomorrow's race. The Spaniard will start from the third row in eighth place whilst his team-mate Bryan Staring lines up in 22nd after suffering his third crash of the weekend this afternoon.
Alvaro Bautista (8° 1’ 22” 484) “We have made a slight improvement on yesterday and found a bit more grip and confidence with the rear of the bike. We worked hard with the electronics and found some benefits that allowed me to improve my lap time. Unfortunately I made a mistake in qualifying and let the tyres get too cool before pushing for a fast lap. My race pace isn't so bad but it will be important to get a good start if we are going to stay in touch with the lead group.”
Bryan Staring (22nd 1’ 27” 273) “Unfortunately when I came into turn four the rear came round on me and threw me into the air. It was a big crash and we didn't need it. We went back out on the second bike but the set-up was different and I didn't have the same confidence with it. Now I have to get over the pain in my left foot and try to get ready for the race.”
Fausto Gresini “To be honest I am not happy right now with the results or the performance. We are not improving and it is a difficult situation to accept so we have to reflect hard on why we are not competitive and try to make sure we correct it. We need a reaction now because I am very disappointed.”
FOURTH ROW FOR PETRUCCI IN Q2 SESSION, ZARCO 11th IN MOTO2 QUALIFYING
Chemnitz, July 13, 2013 - Excellent Performance by Danilo Petrucci in the second qualifying session in the Grand Prix of Germany. The CAME Iodaracing rider managed to get past the first round of qualifying setting the best time in 1.23.100. Then Petrucci proceed to the second round where he failed to improve his time due to the failure of a sensor on the rear wheel that did not allow him make his best with the second rubber. In tomorrow's race, Petrucci will start from the fourth row with the 11th time in 1.23.361. The CAME Iodaracing MotoGP second rider, Lukas Pesek, qualified however, in twenty-first position, with time 1.24.395, which is a positive net result of all the difficulties encountered over the weekend at the Sachsenring.
In Moto2, Johann Zarco got the fourth row in the qualifying session of the Grand Prix of Germany. The French rider with the CAME Iodaracing Team Suter, has got an interesting lap time, ending the official qualifying session with 1.25.082, +0,417s by Xavier Simeon, the Sachsenring pole man. Even in qualifying lap times were all very close, so for tomorrow's race Zarco could still aspire to a good result.
Danilo Petrucci - MOTOGP RIDER - 11th TIME - 1.23.361 - FOURTH ROW "I am very happy of the result achieved because these days we had some difficulties. Then I realized that the bike was fine and the problem was me that was wrong in the T2. So already the last free practice session went better and in Q1 we got this great result. Yesterday my target was to score the fifth row and instead today we went beyond all expectations, I have to thank my team, Suter and BMW . Tomorrow's race will be long and difficult, but I'm sure I can get a good result. "
LUKAS PESEK - MOTOGP RIDER - 21th TIME - 1.24.395 - SEVENTH ROW "The bike is growing, we begin to find a standard set up, but unfortunately in the first part of the track the bike was tricky to ride because the anti wheeling was not working properly. We hope to fix it for tomorrow because I feel optimistic for the race".
JOHANN ZARCO - MOTO2 Rider - 11th TIME - 1.25.082 - FOURTH ROW "I'm sorry for the eleventh position because the bike was fine and we had a good pace. We are all very very close and tomorrow it will be important to make a good start to stay in the first group because this track is not easy to overtake and stay behind could be fatal. The situation overall is good and this makes me optimistic for tomorrow. I just have to be more relaxed and less rigid in the riding, which I have influenced a lot during these qualifications. "
Corti will start in the Top10 at Sachsenring
Positive qualifying session at Sachsenring for NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders Claudio Corti and Colin Edwards. Both the FTR evolutions and the Magneti Marelli software upgrade provided to the team this weekend have clearly helped improve the performance of the FTR – Kawasaki bike.
For the first time this season the team has participated in the Q2 session and has Claudio Corti qualify in 10th place for the German GP. Corti manages to be the best FTR – Kawasaki rider during qualifying in Germany and second best CRT behind Espargaro. Teammate Colin Edwards will start the race from the 6th row in eighteenth place. Both Edwards and Corti have a very good race pace that makes the team hope for the Top15.
“We know what we are working with, I think the bike is just a little bit too long and we are going to play with it overnight and shorten it up a little bit to make it easier for me to turn it. As of right now when you get on a path you can’t really change that path once you get on it you’ve got to adjust your speed to turn, so I think we can make up some ground in the setting department. I gave it everything I had today but I never really liked this track.”
“I was hoping to be within high 1´22´s because I felt immediately comfortable with the bike from this morning. It’s a shame that during Q1 I made a mistake in turn one and had it not been for that mistake I could have done 1´22´s. During Q2 I think I was not aggressive enough, especially in T3 but I am still happy because the pace is good. The new parts and modifications that FTR has provided this weekend have worked really well and this proves that we have to continue believing in our potential and keep working. We have participated in Q2 for the first time this season and it is a great satisfaction for the team and me. We still have a little modification in mind before tomorrow’s race. Also during Q1 we tried the hard rear tire and it seems to be working well so we have to think if it might be a good option for the race or not. I would like to thank the team, they are doing a great job we will try to do our best tomorrow.”
“This is a very important day for our team, this is the first time that one of our riders gets to participate in Q2. Claudio has done an amazing job today, he has improved a lot his lap times from yesterday. He has qualified in the Top10 for tomorrow’s race and has a very good race pace, we will see how things go tomorrow. Colin on the other hand did not have such a fast lap but has a good race pace and it allows us to be confident and look forward to tomorrow’s race. If everything goes well we can hope to have both riders in the points here at Sachsenring. We will have to wait and see what happens.”
Masterful Marquez sets the pace in Sachsenring qualifying
Round 8: Germany MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Sachsenring, Saturday July 13 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 23-24°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4 & QP - Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 36-41°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez grabbed his third pole position of the year courtesy of a blazing lap time of 1’21.311 in an action-packed qualifying session at Sachsenring.
Marquez’s time was a shade off the all-time pole position record set in 2008 on qualifying tyres and rounded out an impressive day for the MotoGP rookie. Second quickest today was Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow who narrowly beat Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi to P2 by less than a tenth of a second. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro put in an amazing qualifying performance, his lap time of 1'21.887 qualifying him in fifth position – the best ever qualifying result for a CRT rider.
The warm track temperature in the afternoon allowed riders to perform race simulations on slick tyres. The softer rear slick options emerged as the most popular choice among both the works and CRT riders, while front tyre preference was split among the riders between softer and harder front slick. The soft compound front slick gives extra edge grip – especially important through the infrequent right-hand turns, while the hard compound front slick gives greater stability through the faster sections. As the Sachsenring circuit is such a severe circuit on tyres, Bridgestone engineers will analyse tyre wear on the CRT-specific soft compound rear slick to see if some riders would be better suited to using the harder, medium compound rear slick for tomorrow’s race.
Morning Warm Up is the next MotoGP session at 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT +2) before the thirty lap German Grand Prix gets set to start at 1400.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning track conditions were not the best due to the cool weather and some spots of rain, thankfully we had better conditions in FP4 which allowed the riders to do race simulations on their preferred tyre combination. The improved track conditions also resulted in a very good being set in qualifying and in particular, the times in QP2 were very quick. It was particularly pleasing to see three CRT riders in QP2 as their class-specific soft option rear slick gave them a big boost in performance at this tight and technical circuit. As this circuit is so severe on rear tyres and this is the first time we’ve brought a soft compound asymmetric rear slick here, we will analyse the rate of wear of the soft rear slick to see if any CRT riders will be better off using their harder rear slick option.”