A bit grey and a bit gloomy but the weekend in Germany started in predictable fashion at the top of the timesheets. Sachsenking Marc Marquez found over half a second on the competition from his very first outing and went unchallenged until the very last minute of the session, when Fabio Quartararo swapped to fresh tyres for one flying lap to steal the headlines. Marquez reverted to his standard strategy and focused on finding a steady pace of low to mid 1:22s on used rubber (and new chassis) as he settled for second by only seven hundredths of a second. After a difficult weekend in Assen, Valentino Rossi found his feet early on at the Sachsenring and put a new medium rear to good use, joining the top three but half a second slower than the young leaders.
Alex Rins was nearly glued to the veteran Italian on the timesheets, three thousandths of a second separating the two and with Maverick Viñales adding a third Yamaha to the top five. Andrea Dovizioso in sixth spot was the first Ducati rider, almost nine tenths of a second slower than Quartararo and closely followed by Pramac colleague Jack Miller.
On the back of a sensible performance last time out, Andrea Iannone was back in the top eight on Friday morning but was also a full second slower than the leader. A limping LCR duo of Takaaki Nakagami and Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top ten, ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaro.