With the perfect 9-9-9 record on the line for Marc Marquez, there was an orderly queue on the tail of his Honda going into turn one for the first time in Q2, but he shook them off with red hot pace straight out the gates. The Sachsenring virtuoso felt confident enough to go for his trademark two-stop strategy and proceeded to break his own outright lap record on the second outing. With half a second’s gap to the closest challenger, his sights were set on the 1:19s for the final run but the Spaniard found himself in a rapid sandwich of his closest rivals this weekend, taking the tension to the very end of the session. Marquez eventually sealed the deal with his tenth consecutive pole position at the Sachsenring and a further improvement to his record, while Fabio Quartararo put his fresh shoulder injury behind him and came within two tenths of pole. The Frenchman snuck ahead of factory teammate Maverick Viñales by six thousandths of a second, Yamaha having majority representation on the front row once again.
Alex Rins was the fourth wheel amongst the race contenders all weekend and qualifying fourth gives him more level footing in tomorrow’s battle. BFFs Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow complete the second row of the grid, Miller saving the honour of a fairly miserable Ducati team, while Crutchlow impressively limped his way to sixth. Franco Morbidelli was half a second slower than his teammate on row three, ahead of a fast improving duo of Pol Espargaro and Joan Mir.
Speed was the best cure for Takaaki Nakagami’s pains as the Japanese rider qualified tenth, after robbing Andrea Dovizioso of a Q2 spot by three thousandths of a second. Not even Valentino Rossi could challenge the LCR man but perhaps his weapons were not fully armed, the Italian taking his number 1 bike for a roll through the turn one gravel trap after securing the lead in Q1 and making it spring cleaning time for his mechanics ahead of Q2.
A deeply unhappy Danilo Petrucci completes row four after a difficult session spent shaking his fists at the scenery and eventually joining it in a fast tumble at turn nine, which he was lucky to walk unaided from. With teammate Dovizioso starting 13th and not even featuring in Q2, Ducati seem to be digging their hole so deep they might not make it out in time for Brno.