Bagnaia fastest out the blocks with new lap record at the Sachsenring
It’s an all-Ducati top three lock out on Day 1 as Bagnaia leads Marini and Miller
Friday, 17 June 2022
Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia has come tantalisingly close to the 1:19s as he broke the All Time Lap Record in MotoGP™ FP2 at the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Italian fired in a 1:20.018 to establish a new benchmark around the Sachsenring as Ducati locked out the top three in the afternoon and overall. Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini grabbed second and FP1 pace-setter Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) took third, with Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro the best of the rest.
The twisty layout of the Sachsenring might not traditionally have suited the Bologna bullets, but it seems times they are a-changing as Ducati Lenovo Team had already gone one-two in FP1. Miller led the way with a 1:21.479, ahead of Bagnaia by just over a tenth.
World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who had the new-spec swingarm on his YZR-M1, was not far away either. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ rider finished the session third-fastest courtesy of a 1:21.557 which he set just after Miller’s fastest lap. Very few went for time attacks at the end of proceedings but Quartararo continued to lap in the 1:22s despite using just the one set of tyres. Fourth went to Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) on a 1:21.655 and fifth to Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) on a 1:21.660, an encouraging start to the weekend for the Japanese rider after his crash at Catalunya a fortnight ago.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was a solid sixth in FP1, and sampling the Noale factory’s new fairing, he clocked a 1:21.665 and managed to keep himself upright despite an excursion through the gravel at Turn 1. Marini started seventh on a 1:21.671 while Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) picked himself up from a crash at Turn 1 to claim eighth with a 1:21.730 which he set near the end of the session on new tyres.
The top 10 was rounded out by Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) on a 1:21.735 and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) on a 1:21.772, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) just 0.041 seconds slower again in 11th.
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) crashed twice in FP1, rider ok but a little battered and bruised after a highside,and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also took a tumble. Rins didn’t complete the whole session as he nurses his wrist injured in Barcelona.
Aleix Espargaro took over on top with a 1:20.789 on his first run, with Bagnaia just 0.054 seconds slower. But Miller was one of the earliest to switch to genuine time attack mode in the closing stages of FP2 and, armed with new softs on the front and rear, he vaulted back to the top with a 1:20.211. Aleix Espargaro twice came close to bettering the Australian again with a 1:20.284 and a 1:20.219 on consecutive laps, but it fell to the man on the other red Ducati to get the job done.
Bagnaia broke Marc Marquez’s three-year-old All Time Lap Record of 1:20.195 when he laid down a 1:20.132 on a medium-soft tyre combination in the final three minutes of the session, and there was time enough to go even faster again before the chequered flag unfurled. Marini likewise beat Marquez’s old Sachsenring benchmark, shuffling Miller back to third, albeit only at 0.193 seconds off the pace of his team-mate… and that makes it a Ducati top three heading into Saturday.
Provisional Q2 places
Behind the Ducati trio, Aleix Espargaro was fourth-fastest all-told, and he is the odd one out in a top six otherwise filled up by GP22s. Johann Zarco claimed fifth on a 1:20.264 and Prima Pramac Racing teammate Jorge Martin finished up sixth on a 1:20.275.
Seventh overall goes to World Championship leader Quartararo on a 1:20.399, ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and another impressive performance from Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) on yet another Ducati.
Either side of the top 10 cut-off which decides who goes straight into Q2, as it stands it’s Joan Mir in 10th on a 1:20.574 and his Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Alex Rins in 11th on a 1:20.591. Nakagami faded in the afternoon but was first of the Honda riders in 12th on a 1:20.616, while Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) took 13th at another 0.131 seconds off the pace after an early run through the gravel at Turn 1. Pol Espargaro took 14th, ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), and the first of the KTM contingent in Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), in 17th after a tough day for the Austrian factory.
Those outside the top ten will, of course, all be looking to improve their positions and book a place in Q2 when FP3 unfolds on Saturday. Can they do it? The answers will come from 09:55 (GMT +2), before qualifying from 14:10 as the grid gets decided at the unique challenge of the Sachsenring.
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP EVALUATE TYRE OPTIONS ON GERMAN GP FRIDAY
Sachsenring (Germany), 17th June 2022
GRAND PRIX OF GERMANY
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli started the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland with high motivation, but getting the hard-spec tyres to work at the Sachsenring proved challenging. They secured 7th and 15th place respectively. With the top-17 riders setting times within 0.897s of each other, the heat is on this weekend.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team started Round 10 of the MotoGP World Championship at the Sachsenring looking for a solid base set-up suiting the twisty track and evaluating different tyre options. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli secured 7th and 15th place respectively in the combined FP results.
Quartararo made steady progress in the morning session. He gradually found his pace on his first run and began to dip under the 1‘22s-mark. He worked himself up to second place with a 1‘21.557s on lap 11/25. He used his second run to improve his race set-up and ended FP1 in third place, 0.078s from first.
El Diablo used the hot afternoon session to find a good feeling on the hard-spec tyres, but he didn‘t feel like he could ride on the limit yet. He improved his time to a 1‘20.399s on lap 22/22 when he fitted a soft rear tyre and found more than a second compared to his morning result. He ended the first day in Saxony in seventh place, 0.381s off the fastest time.
Morbidelli was pleased to confirm some of his findings from the Catalan Test during the Friday session. He wrapped up his first run at the Sachsenring by setting a best morning time of 1‘21.939s on lap 9/27. At the time it earned him a top-10 placement. He ultimately completed FP1 in 14th position, 0.460s from the top.
Like his teammate, the number-21 rider shifted to the hard tyres in the afternoon to establish if it was a good option for the race. He too found that the hard tyre wasn‘t working as well for him compared to the medium option in the cooler morning session. Still, the Italian shaved off more than a second of his morning time. He clocked a 1‘20.856s on lap 19/21, which left him 15th and 0.838s off the P1 time.
The FP1 session was better than FP2 for us. We used the medium tyres in the morning session when the temperatures were lower. The bike was behaving well, and the pace of both riders was good. In the hotter afternoon, we used the hard compound because we wanted to see if this spec is a good option for us for the race. So far, the hard spec didn‘t give Fabio or Franky the feeling they were looking for in any area. We will investigate if there is something preventing this tyre from performing well for us, or if it‘s simply too hard. Though we‘re not satisfied with our afternoon performance, Fabio is still in the top 10. We will continue to work hard as we hope to make a significant step in FP3. The weather forecasts are good for tomorrow, this will give us all the time we need to improve.
I feel good, but we‘re still missing some performance. I mean, our pace is not too bad, but in the first laps on a new hard tyre I was pretty slow compared to the others, and we need to find a solution to find that 0.4s-0.5s that we‘re missing. When I go out on a new hard tyre, it feels like a used tyre, so that‘s something we need to improve. The feeling is kind of similar to Barcelona. Let‘s see who will and who won‘t improve when the temperatures go up further later this weekend. I don‘t think it will be a big issue for us.
So, there are some things to improve with the race tyres, but the feeling and the pace weren’t bad at all. For sure, to get to the top guys‘ pace we need at least 0.3s-0.4s. But the biggest problem is that I can’t improve on a new tyre like others can. Others seem to be able to improve by 1s. I’m not on that level. We are working on understanding the new tyres better to improve on them like we should.
Hundredths of a second the difference on German GP Friday for the Repsol Honda Team
A bruising first day in Germany for the Repsol Honda Team, but both Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl put in their maximum – unrewarded by just a few tenths but confident of more on Saturday.
Europe’s heatwave was in full affect at the Sachsenring as temperatures in the mid 20s graced the track all day and temperatures are only set to rise further over the weekend. The summer conditions meant times were immediately fast, the outright lap record already being improved upon in Free Practice 2. There was little to choose between the riders as the hotly contested premier class arrived at the shortest track on the calendar.
Pol Espargaro’s day got off to an incredibly difficult start with two crashes at Turn 1 during Free Practice 1. The first fall was a relatively gentle lowside but the second crash, just a few minutes later, was a vicious highside which brought the #44’s session to an early end. After a visit to the medical centre, Espargaro was deemed fit and fortunate to escape any major injuries. A whole team effort meant that both of Espargaro’s Honda RC213V machines were ready for Free Practice 2. Pushing through some pain in his ribs and wrist from the morning, Espargaro managed a 1’20.816 for 14th overall – just two tenths from the top ten. The time was just a tenth slower than his qualifying time from 2021.
Home hero Stefan Bradl was a man in demand with the fans as the German GP weekend got underway. The HRC Test rider started steadily and improved his pace in the morning before making a big step in FP2. Finding 0.7s from FP1 to FP2, Bradl challenged the top ten until the very final moments of the session. Ultimately taking 20th place on Friday, he is confident a lap in the 1’20s was possible today as his switch from tester to racer continues.
“Today was a tough day. The first crash wasn’t bad but the second one really caught me by surprise and I came down quite hard. My wrist and elbow hurt a bit but the biggest pain at the moment is on my left ribs. It’s hard to take a deep breath and especially with all the left corners here, it’s quite painful. We need to rest tonight and take some anti-inflammatories. Even like this we were able to be faster than last year, but the pace is really high this weekend and we will have to work tomorrow for QP2. Today I was the limit, there’s still some margin inside of me.”
“I am happy after today because we were able to make a good step. In Free Practice 1 we struggled a bit and then in the afternoon we improved. I am happy with the performance because not just the bike made a step, but I also did with my riding. There is still some parts to improve, especially about the timing of runs and my confidence when going for a fast lap. This will come with time and this is where we will find those last tenths we are missing. The goal for tomorrow is to improve again with the soft rear, I want to lap in a 1’20 – that’s the objective.”
Sun, Waterfall and Left Corners: Tech3 KTM Factory Racing Completes Day 1 in Sachsenring
Rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez set off for the first time on a MotoGP bike at Sachsenring, a place where they both have good records in lower categories. Coming from a positive weekend at the Catalunya Grand Prix followed by a test day, both were looking to continue their good form for the first day of the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
During Free Practice 1, Australian Remy Gardner was looking to take the positives which came out from the test day in Barcelona and develop them on a race weekend. This morning, he rode in 1’22.598, a best lap time obtained at the end of his first run, in new tyres. In the afternoon, he continued to push and times went down as the track got hotter. Remy managed to take his lap time down by 1.295, which placed him twenty-second in the combined standings. Tomorrow, he will continue to push in order to get a good grid position on qualifying day.
His teammate Raul Fernandez had in mind to try a different setting on the whole weekend after some positive information came out of the test day in Catalunya. In the morning, he got his best lap time in 1’22.807 and took it down to 1’21.820 in the afternoon session. He finished the first day of the German Grand Prix in P24 and will be looking to continue his efforts on Saturday, when the action resumes with FP3 at 9:55 local time (GMT+2), followed by FP4 and the qualifying sessions.
“I expected a bit more from today to be honest but it has not been a bad day overall. We are close to the factory riders, which is important. We will see what we can do tomorrow and hopefully improve a bit.”
“The day was good, especially during the Free Practice 2. I did not get a good lap time, but this weekend, we are trying a different setting that we worked on during the test in Catalunya, so we will see how it works on the weekend’s duration. I think that it was a rather positive day, so we will continue our efforts tomorrow.”
Raul Fernandez – Sachsenring 2022
Raul Fernandez – Sachsenring 2022
TAKA THE TOP HONDA ON DAY ONE AT SACHSENRING
17 June 2022 | German GP Practice
Takaaki Nakagami impressed on the opening day of free practice for the German Grand Prix having been passed fit to compete at the Sachsenring. Despite still feeling aches and pains from his fall at Montmelo last time out, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU man rode through the pain barrier and showed his potential to challenge towards the front of the MotoGP field this weekend.
Taka dispelled any concerns over his competitiveness in FP1 as he quickly established himself amongst the early pacesetters, eventually finishing the session in 5th. His race pace looked encouraging in FP2 and, although he was unable to find a quick lap and maintain his place in the top-10, he remains confident of improvement and making Q2 tomorrow.
Takaaki Nakagami – 12th
“It was a positive first day here in Sachsenring. We made a quite a big step this afternoon and our race pace is already good. We need to improve and work on our qualifying lap, because this afternoon at the end of FP2, the first time we tried the soft compound on the rear I had a lot of grip. So, we need to improve the setting on the bike and electronics in many areas. I am good, even though my physical condition is not the best, I am looking forward to riding tomorrow.”
SACHSENRING FRIDAY: OK DAY FOR DIGGIA, BASTIANINI HAS MARGIN
#GermanGP Free Practice. The opening day for round ten of the season sees once again Fabio Di Giannantonio on great form, as he is now consistently in the top ten – at least in the single-lap performance. The series rookie was immediately very comfortable aboard his Desmosedici machine, and his performance gave him the ninth position in the combined times of today’s FP1 and FP2 sessions (1’20.545).
Without his race engineer Giribuola, who stayed at home as a precautionary measure after testing positive to Covid-19, Enea Bastianini had a bit more of a difficult time compared to his teammate. The standard bearer of Team Gresini MotoGP still has time to bounce back, starting from tomorrow morning’s FP3 which will be key in order to avoid having to go through Q1. Only a few milliseconds are needed in order to be back among the protagonists.
9th – FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #49 (1’20.545s)
“We start back from Barcelona: we made very little changes to the bike and we had a good feeling, which is very, very positive. Let’s say we’re on the right track: we’re still missing something on the front-end, especially with regards to some corners like turn three, but we have some changes in mind to make a further step forward tomorrow. The goal is to be in Q2 here as well.”
13th – ENEA BASTIANINI #23 (1’20.747s)
“We struggled a bit, and last year here hadn’t been easy, either. We know where we have to focus on in order to be competitive and I’m confident tomorrow we’ll be part of the game. We’re still missing something in sectors two and three. From turn six to turn eight I don’t feel well, I have a lack of feeling with the front-end and that means cornering is also affected.”