The uncharacteristically hot temperatures at the Sachsenring seemed to have levelled out the field in terms of race pace. With the Hondas on the hard front and most of the field favouring the medium set of tyres, race pace looked to drop towards the mid to high 1:21s and it was Ducati’s turn to look like favourites in these conditions. Andrea Dovizioso in particular looked like the strongest man on track and topped the session by two hundredths of a second although the Italian did not quite replicate full race distance on his mediums.
Andrea Iannone was on the same tyres and put in a respectable sequence of laps late in the session on a new rear tyre to climb into second position. Jorge Lorenzo looked almost as good as his teammate and to prove that point the Spaniard only trailed him by eight hundredths of a second on the timesheets. Danilo Petrucci made it three Ducatis in the top four before his machine threw a smoky tantrum before the Italian made the checkered flag.
Aleix Espargaro progressed throughout the session to climb into fifth, two tenths down on the leader and closely followed by Alex Rins. The first Honda on the timesheets was the LCR machine of Cal Crutchlow in seventh position, with Dani Pedrosa only two hundredths of a second behind.
Valentino Rossi spent his day on used tyres, struggling on the soft rear but finding significant improvement on the medium to join the top nine. Marquez himself snatched the final top ten position after spending the whole session on fairly used tyres and posting high 1:21s, similar to a big part of his top ten colleagues. The world champion's day also featured a pirouette in turn one that technically counted as a crash.
Depite being only four tenths of a second slower than Dovizioso, Pol Espargaro was pushed out of the first ten positions and finished ahead of Maverick Viñales, who showed similar pace to his usual rivals but had one too many odd laps thrown in between. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco dropped to a rather unexpected 20th position, over a second slower than the lead Ducati.