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.
Latest MotoGP Results
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at the Sachsenring:
The final opportunity for the intermediate class to find their way around race setup went more smoothly for some than others. After the final third of the session saw a multitude of crashes, the red flag had to wave while air fence was being fixed.
That left about eight minutes on the clock for a final charge and attacks to the top position came from all over the place. Joan Mir, Sam Lowes and Marcel Schrotter seemed to be battling it out between themselves for much of the remaining time, until Luca Marini sneaked up on them and grabbed the lead on his very last flying lap.
The usual Saturday morning race pace routine unfolded for the premier class, with the exception of Valentino Rossi who was on an early mission to join the provisional top ten after a disappointing FP2.
Andrea Iannone jumped the gun on the time attack and robbed Jorge Lorenzo of the fastest time of the weekend with 13 minutes left on the clock. That kickstarted the charge for the top ten and the lead changed hands several times before the roulette stopped back on Iannone, the Suzuki man once again consolidating his reputation as an extremely fast man over one lap.
The sun from Friday hid behind a few clouds on Saturday morning and the lightweight class took its time to improve on FP1 times, nevermind FP2, despite six sessions of implicit track cleaning. After the first run of subdued laptimes, Aron Canet showed the way by a modest advantage ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta. Despite significant improvements predictably expected, the duo would eventually prove to be the main characters of the morning.
The final session of the day got underway and Sam Lowes was most eager to get out and post the first solid benchmark of the day. The British rider enjoyed some time in the limelight before the halfway point of the session, when some other familiar faces took their turn at the top, beginning with unfortunate fourth place enthusiast Marcel Schrotter.
Once a red flag cleared in the final ten minutes, the intermediate class riders got another shot to disturb the hierarchy and Xavi Vierge was the first to strike with four minutes left on the clock, the Dynavolt rider holding on to top position despite a spirited charge behind.
A somewhat overcast Sachsenring looked like a much more familiar sight for Marc Marquez, who went under circuit record only three laps into the session, leaving rivals to play catch-up. Not much catch-up was played until the final five minutes, when new rubber has started to be donned throughout the field in an attempt to snatch a top ten position and ideally the crown off the world champion.
Jorge Lorenzo finally dethroned the king in the final two minutes while Marquez was still circulating on used rear rubber and letting his usual Friday strategy unfold, including various tyre options and a save for good measure.
A spread of threatening clouds covered the sky in preparation for the second set of practice sessions, a few subtle drops of rain escaping as the lightweight class kicked off proceedings. Jorge Martin got a chance to set camp at the top of the timesheets before the rain flags came out at the mid point of FP2. Lucky this was not a lengthy respite and Philipp Oettl got another chance to aim for top position, ending the session four hundredths of a second ahead of Tony Arbolino and with Martin another four thousandths of a second back in third, after a late cancelled lap for the Spaniard.
The final piece in the FP1 puzzle started with Iker Lecuona as the early but precarious leader of the intermediate class session by only one thousandth of a second. Despite the minuscule advantage, his turn in the spotlight lasted until the final five minutes of FP1, when Dominiqe Aegerter took over the lead and kept it to the flag. Andrea Locatelli flew the flag for Italstrans from second position, only two hundredths of a second behind the leader and with Lorenzo Baldassarri only three thousandths of a second behind, making a late jump into third.
The moment the green flag waved, Marc Marquez was back on home soil – he might not be German but he definitely feels at home on top of the standings at the Sachsenring. The opposition was led by Andrea Iannone, who negotiated his way around the track on his own for a change and picked up the lead by nearly four tenths of a second from the world champion with seven minutes left of the session.
Under an unusually sunny Sachsenring sky, the action unfolded in familiar fashion. Jorge Martin was the early leaver of the first practice session, having immediately built an advantage of almost half a second on the man he dethroned in Assen, Marco Bezzecchi. The Gresini rider then posted the first time in the 1:27s and his rivals struggled to match this early pace.
The 1:27 club got a few more subscribers once the finally time attack got underway, although Martin was determined to get faster and faster and keep his prime position at the top of the classification. The Spaniard had no trouble doing that, leading the morning session by two tenths of a second from John McPhee. Philipp Oettl seemed to be preparing a bit of a comeback with third position in FP1, a mere thousandth of a second keeping him ahead of Enea Bastianini in fourth.
Results and summary of the MotoGP race in Assen:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Assen:
Results and summary of the Moto3 race in Assen: